Biofilm formation-defective mutants in Pseudomonas putida

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Abstract

Out of 8000 candidates from a genetic screening for Pseudomonas putida KT2442 mutants showing defects in biofilm formation, 40 independent mutants with diminished levels of biofilm were analyzed. Most of these mutants carried insertions in genes of the lap cluster, whose products are responsible for synthesis, export and degradation of the adhesin LapA. All mutants in this class were strongly defective in biofilm formation. Mutants in the flagellar regulatory genes fleQ and flhF showed similar defects to that of the lap mutants. On the contrary, transposon insertions in the flagellar structural genes fliP and flgG, that also impair flagellar motility, had a modest defect in biofilm formation. A mutation in gacS, encoding the sensor element of the GacS/GacA two-component system, also had a moderate effect on biofilm formation. Additional insertions targeted genes involved in cell envelope function: PP3222, encoding the permease element of an ABC-type transporter and tolB, encoding the periplasmic component of the Tol-OprL system required for outer membrane stability. Our results underscore the central role of LapA, suggest cross-regulation between motility and adhesion functions and provide insights on the role of cell envelope trafficking and maintenance for biofilm development in P. putida.

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