Research ArticleMicrobiology

Constitutive production of c-di-GMP is associated with mutations in a variant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa with altered membrane composition

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Science Signaling  14 Apr 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 372, pp. ra36
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005943

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Making bacteria sticky

When free-swimming bacteria encounter a surface, such as the inner lining of a catheter or an airway in a patient with cystic fibrosis (CF), they aggregate to form a biofilm, which is an encapsulated, multicellular structure that has increased resistance to environmental conditions and antimicrobial compounds. Blanka et al. sequenced a small colony variant of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, isolated from the lung of a patient with CF, and found a mutation in a gene cluster that encodes a multisubunit enzyme responsible for fatty acid biosynthesis, which altered the composition of the P. aeruginosa plasma membrane. The altered membrane composition resulted in the constitutive production of the second messenger c-di-GMP, which promotes biofilm formation. Understanding the opportunistic adaptations that promote biofilm formation may help in designing therapies to treat biofilm-associated infections.

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