Contribution of cell elongation to the biofilm formation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa during anaerobic respiration
Mi Young Yoon ; Kang-Mu Lee ; Sang Sun Yoon ; Yongjin Park
PLoS One, Vol.6(1) : e16105, 2011
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative bacterium of clinical importance, forms more robust biofilm during anaerobic respiration, a mode of growth presumed to occur in abnormally thickened mucus layer lining the cystic fibrosis (CF) patient airway. However, molecular basis behind this anaerobiosis-triggered robust biofilm formation is not clearly defined yet. Here, we identified a morphological change naturally accompanied by anaerobic respiration in P. aeruginosa and investigated its effect on the biofilm formation in vitro. A standard laboratory strain, PAO1 was highly elongated during anaerobic respiration compared with bacteria grown aerobically. Microscopic analysis demonstrated that cell elongation likely occurred as a consequence of defective cell division. Cell elongation was dependent on the presence of nitrite reductase (NIR) that reduces nitrite (NO(2) (-)) to nitric oxide (NO) and was repressed in PAO1 in the presence of carboxy-PTIO, a NO antagonist, demonstrating that cell elongation involves a process to respond to NO, a spontaneous byproduct of the anaerobic respiration. Importantly, the non-elongated NIR-deficient mutant failed to form biofilm, while a mutant of nitrate reductase (NAR) and wild type PAO1, both of which were highly elongated, formed robust biofilm. Taken together, our data reveal a role of previously undescribed cell biological event in P. aeruginosa biofilm formation and suggest NIR as a key player involved in such process.