Staphylococci evade the innate immune response by disarming neutrophils and forming biofilms

FEBS Lett. 2020 Aug;594(16):2556-2569. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.13767. Epub 2020 Mar 19.


Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis can cause many types of infections, ranging from skin infections to implant-associated infections. The primary innate immune response against bacterial infections involves complement activation, recruitment of phagocytes (most importantly neutrophils), and subsequent killing of the pathogen. However, staphylococci are not innocent bystanders; they actively obstruct this immune attack. To do that, S. aureus secretes several immune-evasion proteins to resist attack by the innate immune system. Furthermore, S. aureus and S. epidermidis are known for their ability to form biofilms on implanted medical devices and host tissues, which provides another important immune-evasion mechanism. Understanding these different strategies to resist immune attack will help to develop novel therapies against staphylococcal infections.

Keywords: S. aureus; S. epidermidis; Staphylococci; antibodies; biofilm; complement; evasion; neutrophils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Biofilms*
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / pathology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins