Pneumococcal modification of host sugars: a major contributor to colonization of the human airway?
Article first published online: 25 JAN 2010
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Molecular Oral Microbiology
Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 15–24, February 2010
How to Cite
King, S.J. (2010), Pneumococcal modification of host sugars: a major contributor to colonization of the human airway?. Molecular Oral Microbiology, 25: 15–24. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-1014.2009.00564.x
- Issue published online: 25 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 25 JAN 2010
- Accepted 20 November 2009
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
Streptococcus pneumoniae colonization of the human airway is an essential precursor for disease; however, the mechanisms by which the bacterium establishes and maintains colonization are poorly understood. It is becoming increasingly clear that S. pneumoniae expresses glycosidases that can modify many glycan structures present in the human airway, including N-linked glycans, O-linked glycans, and glycosaminoglycans. Many of these glycosidases have been shown to contribute to in vivo colonization. Although the precise role of these glycosidases during colonization remains to be elucidated, in vitro assays suggest that pneumococcal modification of host sugars may contribute to colonization in a variety of ways. Experimental evidence supports a role for pneumococcal glycosidases in providing a carbon source for growth, biofilm formation, competition with other bacteria within the airway, and exposing receptors for adherence. Herein we review the ability of S. pneumoniae to modify host sugars and the functional effects of these modifications.