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Multiple environmental cues have been shown to trigger biofilm detachment, the transition from surface-attached, highly organized communities known as biofilms to the motile lifestyle. The goal of this study was to identify a gene product involved in sensing environmental cues that trigger biofilm dispersion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To do so, we focused on novel putative chemotaxis transducer proteins that could potentially be involved in environmental sensing. We identified a locus encoding such a protein that played a role in detachment, as indicated by the observation that an isogenic mutant biofilm could not disperse in response to a variety of environmental cues. The locus was termed bdlA for biofilm dispersion locus. The BdlA protein harbors an MCP (methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein) domain and two PAS (Per-Arnt-Sint) domains that have been shown to be essential for responding to environmental signals in other proteins. The dispersion-deficient phenotype of the bdlA mutant was confirmed by treatment with the biocide H(2)O(2) and by microscopic observations. The dispersion response was independent of motility. bdlA mutant biofilms were found to have increased adherent properties and increased intracellular levels of cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP). Our findings suggest that BdlA may be a link between sensing environmental cues, c-di-GMP levels, and detachment. Based on our findings, a possible involvement of BdlA in a signaling cascade resulting in biofilm dispersion is discussed.


Ryan Morgan, Steven Kohn, Sung-Hei Hwang, Daniel J Hassett, Karin Sauer. BdlA, a chemotaxis regulator essential for biofilm dispersion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Journal of bacteriology. 2006 Nov;188(21):7335-43

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PMID: 17050921

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