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Gene Review

icaA  -  N-glycosyltransferase

Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62A

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Disease relevance of icaA


High impact information on icaA

  • Coexpression of icaA with icaD led to a significant increase in activity [3].
  • The data obtained in these analyses suggested that in approximately 30% of the variants the missing biofilm formation was due to the inactivation of either the icaA or the icaC gene by the insertion of the insertion sequence element IS256 [4].
  • The nucleotide sequence of icaABC suggests that the three genes are organized in an operon and that they are co-transcribed from the mapped icaA promoter [5].
  • Transcriptional analysis revealed that icaR is up-regulated in mutants lacking sigma(B) function but that icaA transcription is down-regulated in these mutants, indicating a sigma(B)-dependent regulatory intermediate negatively regulating IcaR [6].
  • In the operon, coexpression of icaA and icaD is required for full slime synthesis [7].

Biological context of icaA

  • Inactivation of icaA, icaB, or icaC in pCN27 led to the complete loss of the intercellular adhesion phenotype in S. carnosus, suggesting that all three genes are involved in intercellular adhesion, PIA expression, and translocation [5].

Anatomical context of icaA

  • In this study, the presence of icaA and icaD was determined in a collection of 91 staphylococcal (68 S. epidermidis and 23 S. aureus) strains from intravenous catheter-associated infections, in 10 strains from the skin and mucosa of healthy volunteers, and in two reference strains by a PCR method [7].

Associations of icaA with chemical compounds

  • Supplementation of growth media with ethanol decreased icaR transcription, leading to increased icaA transcription and a biofilm-positive phenotype, indicating that the ethanol-dependent induction of biofilm formation is mediated by IcaR [6].
  • Slime-forming ability was tested on Congo red agar plates; 49% of S. epidermidis strains from catheters and, surprisingly, 61% of S. aureus strains were icaA and icaD positive and slime forming [7].
  • Polysaccharide synthesis is under genetic control and involves a specific intercellular adhesion (ica) locus, in particular, icaA and icaD genes [8].

Other interactions of icaA

  • CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of aap and icaA in skin isolates and their higher prevalence in colonizing than in invasive isolates led to a low specificity when these genes were used to differentiate between contamination, colonization and invasive infection [9].


  1. Characterization of the relationship between polysaccharide intercellular adhesin and hemagglutination in Staphylococcus epidermidis. Fey, P.D., Ulphani, J.S., Götz, F., Heilmann, C., Mack, D., Rupp, M.E. J. Infect. Dis. (1999) [Pubmed]
  2. In catheter infections by Staphylococcus epidermidis the intercellular adhesion (ica) locus is a molecular marker of the virulent slime-producing strains. Arciola, C.R., Baldassarri, L., Montanaro, L. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
  3. Characterization of the N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase activity involved in the biosynthesis of the Staphylococcus epidermidis polysaccharide intercellular adhesin. Gerke, C., Kraft, A., Süssmuth, R., Schweitzer, O., Götz, F. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
  4. A novel mechanism of phase variation of virulence in Staphylococcus epidermidis: evidence for control of the polysaccharide intercellular adhesin synthesis by alternating insertion and excision of the insertion sequence element IS256. Ziebuhr, W., Krimmer, V., Rachid, S., Lössner, I., Götz, F., Hacker, J. Mol. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  5. Molecular basis of intercellular adhesion in the biofilm-forming Staphylococcus epidermidis. Heilmann, C., Schweitzer, O., Gerke, C., Vanittanakom, N., Mack, D., Götz, F. Mol. Microbiol. (1996) [Pubmed]
  6. RsbU-dependent regulation of Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm formation is mediated via the alternative sigma factor sigmaB by repression of the negative regulator gene icaR. Knobloch, J.K., Jäger, S., Horstkotte, M.A., Rohde, H., Mack, D. Infect. Immun. (2004) [Pubmed]
  7. Presence of icaA and icaD genes and slime production in a collection of staphylococcal strains from catheter-associated infections. Arciola, C.R., Baldassarri, L., Montanaro, L. J. Clin. Microbiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  8. Slime-producing Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus in acute bacterial conjunctivitis in soft contact lens wearers. Catalanotti, P., Lanza, M., Del Prete, A., Lucido, M., Catania, M.R., Gallè, F., Boggia, D., Perfetto, B., Rossano, F. New Microbiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  9. Reliability of the ica, aap and atlE genes in the discrimination between invasive, colonizing and contaminant Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates in the diagnosis of catheter-related infections. Vandecasteele, S.J., Peetermans, W.E., R Merckx, R., Rijnders, B.J., Van Eldere, J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. (2003) [Pubmed]
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