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J Bacteriol. 2004 Feb;186(3):722-9.

Control of glucose- and NaCl-induced biofilm formation by rbf in Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, and Immunology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.


Both Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis are capable of forming biofilm on biomaterials. We used Tn917 mutagenesis to identify a gene, rbf, affecting biofilm formation in S. aureus NCTC8325-4. Sequencing revealed that Rbf contained a consensus region signature of the AraC/XylS family of regulators, suggesting that Rbf is a transcriptional regulator. Insertional duplication inactivation of the rbf gene confirmed that the gene was involved in biofilm formation on polystyrene and glass. Phenotypic analysis of the wild type and the mutant suggested that the rbf gene mediates the biofilm formation of S. aureus at the multicellular aggregation stage rather than at initial attachment. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis demonstrated that the mutation resulted in the loss of an approximately 190-kDa protein. Biofilm production by the mutant could be restored by complementation with a 2.5-kb DNA fragment containing the rbf gene. The rbf-specific mutation affected the induction of biofilm formation by glucose and a high concentration of NaCl but not by ethanol. The mutation did not affect the transcription of the ica genes previously shown to be required for biofilm formation. Taken together, our results suggest that the rbf gene is involved in the regulation of the multicellular aggregation step of S. aureus biofilm formation in response to glucose and salt and that this regulation may be mediated through the 190-kDa protein.

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