Current understanding of Group A Streptococcal biofilms
Background: It has been proposed that GAS may form biofilms. Biofilms are microbial communities that aggregate on a surface, and exist within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances. Biofilms offer bacteria an increased survival advantage, in which bacteria persist, and resist host immunity and antimicrobial treatment. The biofilm phenotype has long been recognized as a virulence mechanism for many Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, however very little is known about the role of biofilms in GAS pathogenesis. Objective: This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of biofilms in GAS pathogenesis. This review assesses the evidence of GAS biofilm formation, the role of GAS virulence factors in GAS biofilm formation, modelling GAS biofilms, and discusses the polymicrobial nature of biofilms in the oropharynx in relation to GAS. Conclusion: Further study is needed to improve the current understanding of GAS as both a monospecies biofilm, and as a member of a polymicrobial biofilm. Improved modelling of GAS biofilm formation in settings closely mimicking in vivo conditions will ensure that biofilms generated in the lab closely reflect those occurring during clinical infection.