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Genetics. 2007 May;176(1):221-30. Epub 2007 Mar 4.

Caenorhabditis elegans mutants resistant to attachment of Yersinia biofilms.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0640, USA.


The detailed composition and structure of the Caenorhabditis elegans surface are unknown. Previous genetic studies used antibody or lectin binding to identify srf genes that play roles in surface determination. Infection by Microbacterium nematophilum identified bus (bacterially unswollen) genes that also affect surface characteristics. We report that biofilms produced by Yersinia pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis, which bind the C. elegans surface predominantly on the head, can be used to identify additional surface-determining genes. A screen for C. elegans mutants with a biofilm absent on the head (Bah) phenotype identified three novel genes: bah-1, bah-2, and bah-3. The bah-1 and bah-2 mutants have slightly fragile cuticles but are neither Srf nor Bus, suggesting that they are specific for surface components involved in biofilm attachment. A bah-3 mutant has normal cuticle integrity, but shows a stage-specific Srf phenotype. The screen produced alleles of five known surface genes: srf-2, srf-3, bus-4, bus-12, and bus-17. For the X-linked bus-17, a paternal effect was observed in biofilm assays.

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