SxsA, a novel surface protein mediating cell aggregation and adhesive biofilm formation of Staphylococcus xylosus

Carolin J. Schiffer, Christoph Schaudinn, Matthias A. Ehrmann, Rudi F. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Biofilm formation of staphylococci has been an emerging field of research for many years. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still not fully understood and vary widely between species and strains. The aim of this study was to identify new effectors impacting biofilm formation of two Staphylococcus xylosus strains. We identified a novel surface protein conferring cell aggregation, adherence to abiotic surfaces, and biofilm formation. The S. xylosus surface protein A (SxsA) is a large protein occurring in variable sizes. It lacks sequence similarity to other staphylococcal surface proteins but shows similar structural domain organization and functional features. Upon deletion of sxsA, adherence of S. xylosus strain TMW 2.1523 to abiotic surfaces was completely abolished and significantly reduced in TMW 2.1023. Macro- and microscopic aggregation assays further showed that TMW 2.1523 sxsA mutants exhibit reduced cell aggregation compared with the wildtype. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that sxsA is part of the core genome of S. xylosus, Staphylococcus paraxylosus, and Staphylococcus nepalensis and additionally encoded in a small group of Staphylococcus cohnii and Staphylococcus saprophyticus strains. This study provides insights into protein-mediated biofilm formation of S. xylosus and identifies a new cell wall-associated protein influencing cell aggregation and biofilm formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-1001
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Staphylococcus xylosus
  • amyloids
  • autoaggregation
  • biofilm


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