Lubricin: a novel means to decrease bacterial adhesion and proliferation

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2015 Feb;103(2):451-62. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.35195. Epub 2014 Apr 23.


This study investigated the ability of lubricin (LUB) to prevent bacterial attachment and proliferation on model tissue culture polystyrene surfaces. The findings from this study indicated that LUB was able to reduce the attachment and growth of Staphylococcus aureus on tissue culture polystyrene over the course of 24 h by approximately 13.9% compared to a phosphate buffered saline (PBS)-soaked control. LUB also increased S. aureus lag time (the period of time between the introduction of bacteria to a new environment and their exponential growth) by approximately 27% compared to a PBS-soaked control. This study also indicated that vitronectin (VTN), a protein homologous to LUB, reduced bacterial S. aureus adhesion and growth on tissue culture polystyrene by approximately 11% compared to a PBS-soaked control. VTN also increased the lag time of S. aureus by approximately 43%, compared to a PBS-soaked control. Bovine submaxillary mucin was studied because there are similarities between it and the center mucin-like domain of LUB. Results showed that the reduction of S. aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis proliferation on mucin coated surfaces was not as substantial as that seen with LUB. In summary, this study provided the first evidence that LUB reduced the initial adhesion and growth of both S. aureus and S. epidermidis on a model surface to suppress biofilm formation. These reductions in initial bacteria adhesion and proliferation can be beneficial for medical implants and, although requiring more study, can lead to drastically improved patient outcomes.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; Staphylococcus epidermidis; bacterial adhesion; biofouling; implant; infection; kinetic bacterial growth modeling; lubricin; protein coating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism*
  • Surface Properties
  • Vitronectin / chemistry


  • Glycoproteins
  • Polystyrenes
  • Vitronectin
  • lubricin