The Open Microbiology Journal

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Production of Poly-γ-Glutamic Acid (γ-PGA) by Clinical Isolates of Staphylococcus Epidermidis

Renato G. da Silva Filho1, *, Ana C.A Campos1, Isabel dos Santos Souza1, Carmen Soares de Meirelles Saramago1, Agostinho Alves de Lima e Silva1
1 Department of Microbiology and Parasitology Rio de Janeiro, Biomedical Institute, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Background and Objective:

Poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) is a constituent of the Bacillus anthracis capsule and a potential virulence factor of S. epidermidis. In this study, a methodology for the isolation, purification and quantification of γ-PGA in the isolates was adapted. In addition, the fate of the produced γ-PGA and its antiphagocytic activity were investigated.


The capB gene was investigated by the PCR method in 50 isolates of S. epidermidis. A modified methodology was used for the extraction, purification, and quantification of γ-PGA using Cetyltrimethylammonium Bromide (CTAB) solution. The fate of γ-PGA was determined in Tryptic Soy Broth (TSB) medium, as well as the effect of ethanol, NaCl and KCl on the induction of the polymer production. The ability of neutrophils to phagocyte both FITC-labeled latex particles in the presence of free γ-PGA and S. epidermidis with and without anchored γ-PGA was evaluated by cytometry.


The production of γ-PGA was detected in 40 isolates; all of them were capB gene carriers. Free γ-PGA was detected and in the strain, the amount of released γ-PGA in the supernatant was 67% greater than the cell anchored γ-PGA. Phagocytosis tests performed with one γ-PGA producer isolate showed a significant reduction in neutrophil internalization.


The adapted methodology was able to detect γ-PGA in the isolates studied. In addition to being found attached to the cell wall, it was demonstrated in this study that γ-PGA can also be found in the culture supernatant. Free γ-PGA did not determine a reduction in the internalization of latex by neutrophils, but cells with anchored γ-PGA showed significant protection against phagocytosis.

Keywords: Staphylococcus epidermidis, Poly-γ-glutamic acid, Cap operon, Quantification of γ-PGA, Phagocytosis, Pathogenic, Neutrophils.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 14
First Page: 30
Last Page: 37
Publisher Id: TOMICROJ-14-30
DOI: 10.2174/1874285802014010030

Article History:

Received Date: 03/10/2019
Revision Received Date: 09/12/2019
Acceptance Date: 10/12/2019
Electronic publication date: 10/2/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2019 da Silva Filho et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Microbiology and Parasitology Rio de Janeiro, Biomedical Institute, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Tel: +55 21 98814-8452;

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