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Mol Cell Biochem. 2010 Sep;342(1-2):207-13. doi: 10.1007/s11010-010-0485-7. Epub 2010 May 18.

Contribution of rpoS and bolA genes in biofilm formation in Escherichia coli K-12 MG1655.

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  • 1School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Maudland Building, Preston, Lancashire, England, UK.


Flexibility of gene expression in bacteria permits its survival in varied environments. The genetic adaptation of bacteria through systematized gene expression is not only important, but also clinically relevant in their ability to grow biofilms in stress environments. Stress responses enable their survival under more severe conditions, enhanced resistance and/or virulence. In Escherichia coli (E. coli), two of the possible important genes for biofilm growth are rpoS and bolA gene. RpoS is also called as a master regulator of general stress response. Even though many studies have revealed the importance of rpoS in planktonic cells, little is known about the functions of rpoS in biofilms. In contrast, bolA which is a morphogene in E. coli is overexpressed under stressed environments resulting in round morphology. The hypothesis is that bolA could be implicated in biofilm development. This study reviewed the literature with the aim of understanding the stress tolerance response of E. coli in relation with rpoS and bolA genes in different environmental conditions including heat shock, cold shock, and stress in response to oxidation, acidic condition and in presence of cadmium. Knowledge of the genetic regulation of biofilm formation may lead to the understanding of the factors that drive the bacteria to switch to the biofilm mode of growth.

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