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Identification of a Novel Matrix Protein That Promotes Biofilm Maturation in Vibrio fischeri

Ray, Valerie A., Driks, Adam, Visick, Karen L.
Journal of bacteriology 2015 v.197 no.3 pp. 518-528
DNA, Vibrio fischeri, bacteria, bacteriology, biofilm, extracellular matrix, genes, mutants, phenotype, polysaccharides, proteins, transmission electron microscopy
Bacteria form communities, termed biofilms, in which cells adhere to each other within a matrix, typically comprised of polysaccharides, proteins, and extracellular DNA. Biofilm formation by the marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri requires the Syp polysaccharide, but the involvement of matrix proteins is as yet unknown. Here we identified three genes, termed bmpA , - B , and - C (b iofilm m aturation p rotein), with overlapping functions in biofilm maturation. A triple bmpABC mutant, but not single or double mutants, was defective in producing wrinkled colonies, a form of biofilm. Surprisingly, the triple mutant was competent to form pellicles, another biofilm phenotype, but they generally lacked a three-dimensional architecture. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the extracellular matrix of the bmp mutant contained electron-dense, thread-like structures that were also present in the wild type but lacking in syp mutant strains. We hypothesized that the bmp mutant produces the Syp polysaccharide but fails to produce/export a distinct matrix component. Indeed, a mixture of the bmp and syp mutants produced a wrinkled colony. Finally, BmpA could be detected in cell-free supernatants from disrupted pellicles. Thus, this work identifies a new matrix protein necessary for biofilm maturation by V. fischeri and, based on the conservation of bmp , potentially other microbes.