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The Involvement of Cell-to-Cell Signals in the Development of a Bacterial Biofilm

Science  10 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5361, pp. 295-298
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5361.295

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Abstract

Bacteria in nature often exist as sessile communities called biofilms. These communities develop structures that are morphologically and physiologically differentiated from free-living bacteria. A cell-to-cell signal is involved in the development of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. A specific signaling mutant, alasI mutant, forms flat, undifferentiated biofilms that unlike wild-type biofilms are sensitive to the biocide sodium dodecyl sulfate. Mutant biofilms appeared normal when grown in the presence of a synthetic signal molecule. The involvement of an intercellular signal molecule in the development of P. aeruginosa biofilms suggests possible targets to control biofilm growth on catheters, in cystic fibrosis, and in other environments where P. aeruginosa biofilms are a persistent problem.

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