Role of teichoic acids in Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization, a major risk factor in nosocomial infections

Nat Med. 2004 Mar;10(3):243-5. doi: 10.1038/nm991. Epub 2004 Feb 1.


Colonization of the anterior nares in approximately 37% of the population is a major risk factor for severe Staphylococcus aureus infections. Here we show that wall teichoic acid (WTA), a surface-exposed staphylococcal polymer, is essential for nasal colonization and mediates interaction with human nasal epithelial cells. WTA-deficient mutants were impaired in their adherence to nasal cells, and were completely unable to colonize cotton rat nares. This study describes the first essential factor for S. aureus nasal colonization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cross Infection / microbiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nasal Mucosa / cytology
  • Nasal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Rats
  • Risk Factors
  • Sigmodontinae
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Teichoic Acids / chemistry
  • Teichoic Acids / metabolism*


  • Teichoic Acids