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Infect Immun. 2004 Oct;72(10):6132-8.

Biofilm formation by Neisseria meningitidis.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA. kyi@emory.edu


Biofilm formation by the human pathogen Neisseria meningitidis was analyzed. Biofilm-forming meningococcal strains were identified and quantitated by crystal violet staining. Laser scanning confocal microscopy of the meningococcal biofilm revealed variable layers up to 90 microm in thickness. A total of 39 meningococcal isolates were studied; 23 were nasopharyngeal-carriage isolates, and 16 were invasive-disease isolates. Thirty percent of carriage isolates and 12.5% of invasive-disease isolates formed biofilms proficiently on a polystyrene surface. Generally, the strains that formed biofilms showed high-level cell surface hydrophobicity, characteristic of strains lacking a capsule. The inhibitory role of capsule in biofilm formation was further confirmed by comparing the biofilm-forming capabilities of a serogroup B wild-type strain of a disease-associated isolate to those of its capsule-deficient mutant (ctrA). Some strains of meningococci form biofilms, and this process is likely important in menigococcal colonization.

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