Science Signaling Podcast: 14 April 2015

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Sci. Signal.  14 Apr 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 372, pp. pc9
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aab1834

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This Podcast features an interview with Andrea Blanka and Susanne Häussler, authors of a Research Article that appears in the 14 April 2015 issue of Science Signaling, about a mutation that enhances the ability of a pathogenic strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to form biofilms. Biofilms are microbial communities that grow on biological and nonbiological surfaces. The microbes in biofilms are embedded in a complex matrix that protects them from antibiotics and from being destroyed by the immune system. P. aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that is more difficult to treat when it forms a biofilm than when it exists as free-living cells. Variants of P. aeruginosa that have an enhanced ability to form biofilms are frequently isolated from the chronically infected lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Blanka et al. identified a mutation in a strain of CF-associated P. aeruginosa that affects lipid metabolism, leading to altered composition of the bacterial plasma membrane. This mutation caused the bacteria to constitutively produce the second messenger c-di-GMP, which promotes biofilm formation.

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