Pneumococcal neuraminidase A (NanA) promotes biofilm formation and synergizes with influenza A virus in nasal colonization and middle ear infection

Academic Article


  • Even in the vaccine era, Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) remains a leading cause of otitis media, a significant public health burden, in large part because of the high prevalence of nasal colonization with the pneumococcus in children. The primary pneumococcal neuraminidase, NanA, which is a sialidase that catalyzes the cleavage of terminal sialic acids from host glycoconjugates, is involved in both of these processes. Coinfection with influenza A virus, which also expresses a neuraminidase, exacerbates nasal colonization and disease by S. pneumoniae, in part via the synergistic contributions of the viral neuraminidase. The specific role of its pneumococcal counterpart, NanA, in this interaction, however, is less well understood. We demonstrate in a mouse model that NanA-deficient pneumococci are impaired in their ability to cause both nasal colonization and middle ear infection. Coinfection with neuraminidase-expressing influenza virus and S. pneumoniae potentiates both colonization and infection but not to wild-type levels, suggesting an intrinsic role of NanA. Using in vitro models, we show that while NanA contributes to both epithelial adherence and biofilm viability, its effect on the latter is actually independent of its sialidase activity. These data indicate that NanA contributes both enzymatically and nonenzymatically to pneumococcal pathogenesis and, as such, suggest that it is not a redundant bystander during coinfection with influenza A virus. Rather, its expression is required for the full synergism between these two pathogens.
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    Author List

  • Wren JT; Blevins LK; Pang B; Roy AB; Oliver MB; Reimche JL; Wozniak JE; Alexander-Miller MA; Swords WE
  • Volume

  • 85
  • Issue

  • 4