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Identification of functions linking quorum sensing with biofilm formation in Burkholderia cenocepacia H111.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2012
Author Inhülsen Silja, Aguilar Claudio, Schmid Nadine, Suppiger Angela, Riedel Kathrin, Eberl Leo,
Project Analysis of the quorum sensing circuitry of Burkholderia cenocepacia H111
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal MicrobiologyOpen
Volume (Issue) 1(2)
Page(s) 225 - 42
Title of proceedings MicrobiologyOpen
DOI 10.1002/mbo3.24


Burkholderia cenocepacia has emerged as an important pathogen for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF). Previous work has shown that this organism employs the CepIR quorum-sensing (QS) system to control the expression of virulence factors as well as the formation of biofilms. To date, however, very little is known about the QS-regulated virulence factors and virtually nothing about the factors that link QS and biofilm formation. Here, we have employed a combined transcriptomic and proteomic approach to precisely define the QS regulon in our model strain B. cenocepacia H111, a CF isolate. Among the identified CepR-activated loci, three were analyzed in better detail for their roles in biofilm development: (i) a gene cluster coding for the BclACB lectins, (ii) the large surface protein BapA, and (iii) a type I pilus. The analysis of defined mutants revealed that BapA plays a major role in biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces while inactivation of the type I pilus showed little effect both in a static microtitre dish-based biofilm assay and in flow-through cells. Inactivation of the bclACB lectin genes resulted in biofilms containing hollow microcolonies, suggesting that the lectins are important for biofilm structural development.