Biofilm formation and sloughing in Serratia marcescens is controlled by quorum sensing and nutrient conditions

Amer Soc Microbiology
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Bacteriology, 2005, 187 (10), pp. 3477 - 3485
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We describe here a role for quorum sensing in the detachment, or sloughing, of Serratia marcescens filamentous biofilms, and we show that nutrient conditions affect the biofilm morphotype. Under reduced carbon or nitrogen conditions, S. marcescens formed a classical biofilm consisting of microcolonies. The filamentous biofilm could be converted to a microcolony-type biofilm by switching the medium after establishment of the biofilm. Similarly, when initially grown as a microcolony biofilm, S. marcescens could be converted back to a filamentous biofilm by increasing the nutrient composition. Under high-nutrient conditions, an N-acyl homoserine lactone quorum-sensing mutant formed biofilms that were indistinguishable from the wild-type biofilms. Similarly, other quorum-sensing-dependent behaviors, such as swarming motility, could be rendered quorum sensing independent by manipulating the growth medium. Quorum sensing was also found to be involved in the sloughing of the filamentous biofilm. The biofilm formed by the bacterium consistently sloughed from the substratum after approximately 75 to 80 h of development.
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