SadA-Expressing Staphylococci in the Human Gut Show Increased Cell Adherence and Internalization

Arif Luqman, Mulugeta Nega, Minh Thu Nguyen, Patrick Ebner, Friedrich Götz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


A subgroup of biogenic amines, the so-called trace amines (TAs), are produced by mammals and bacteria and can act as neuromodulators. In the genus Staphylococcus, certain species are capable of producing TAs through the activity of staphylococcal aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (SadA). SadA decarboxylates aromatic amino acids to produce TAs, as well as dihydroxy phenylalanine and 5-hydroxytryptophan to thus produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. SadA-expressing staphylococci were prevalent in the gut of most probands, where they are part of the human intestinal microflora. Furthermore, sadA-expressing staphylococci showed increased adherence to HT-29 cells and 2- to 3-fold increased internalization. Internalization and adherence was also increased in a sadA mutant in the presence of tryptamine. The α2-adrenergic receptor is required for enhanced adherence and internalization. Thus, staphylococci in the gut might contribute to gut activity and intestinal colonization. Luqman et al. examine the sadA gene and argue that it contributes to TAs. They found that neuromodulator-producing staphylococci were present in the gut of most probands. The produced neuromodulators enhanced the adherence and internalization of staphylococci to cells in culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-545
Number of pages11
JournalCell Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • adherence
  • aromatic amino acid decarboxylase
  • gut microbiota
  • internalization
  • neuromodulator
  • neurotransmitter
  • staphylococcus


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