Human monoclonal antibodies against Staphylococcus aureus surface antigens recognize in vitro and in vivo biofilm

Elife. 2022 Jan 6;11:e67301. doi: 10.7554/eLife.67301.


Implant-associated Staphylococcus aureus infections are difficult to treat because of biofilm formation. Bacteria in a biofilm are often insensitive to antibiotics and host immunity. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) could provide an alternative approach to improve the diagnosis and potential treatment of biofilm-related infections. Here, we show that mAbs targeting common surface components of S. aureus can recognize clinically relevant biofilm types. The mAbs were also shown to bind a collection of clinical isolates derived from different biofilm-associated infections (endocarditis, prosthetic joint, catheter). We identify two groups of antibodies: one group that uniquely binds S. aureus in biofilm state and one that recognizes S. aureus in both biofilm and planktonic state. Furthermore, we show that a mAb recognizing wall teichoic acid (clone 4497) specifically localizes to a subcutaneously implanted pre-colonized catheter in mice. In conclusion, we demonstrate the capacity of several human mAbs to detect S. aureus biofilms in vitro and in vivo.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; biofilm; infectious disease; microbiology; monoclonal antibodies.

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
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism*
  • Biofilms*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / immunology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology*
  • Teichoic Acids / immunology
  • Teichoic Acids / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Teichoic Acids

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.vmcvdncs2