A group of surface proteins sharing several structural and functional features is emerging as an important element in the biofilm formation process of diverse bacterial species. The first member of this group of proteins was identified in a Staphylococcus aureus mastitis isolate and was named Bap (biofilm-associated protein). As common structural features, Bap-related proteins: (i) are present on the bacterial surface; (ii) show a high molecular weight; (iii) contain a core domain of tandem repeats; (iv) confer upon bacteria the capacity to form a biofilm; (v) play a relevant role in bacterial infectious processes; and (vi) can occasionally be contained in mobile elements. This review summarizes recent studies that have identified and assigned roles to Bap-related proteins in biofilm biology and virulence. © 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
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