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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jan;72(1):956-9.

Emergence of biofilm-forming subpopulations upon exposure of Escherichia coli to environmental bacteriophages.

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  • 1Department of Chemical, Food, Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Eastern Piedmont, A. Avogadro, Via Bovio 6, Novara 28100, Italy.


Exposure of Escherichia coli MG1655 to environmental bacteriophages results in rapid selection for phage-tolerant subpopulations displaying increased biofilm formation. Analysis of one phage-tolerant strain revealed large amounts of the DNA-binding Dps protein in the outer membrane protein and production of fimbria-like structures. In dps and fimA mutant derivatives of MG1655, no selection of phage-tolerant bacteria upon exposure to bacteriophages occurred, suggesting a role for Dps and type I pili in bacteriophage tolerance.

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