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J Bacteriol. 1999 Jun;181(11):3606-9.

A role for the mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin in biofilm formation by Vibrio cholerae El Tor.

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Infectious Disease Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


While much has been learned regarding the genetic basis of host-pathogen interactions, less is known about the molecular basis of a pathogen's survival in the environment. Biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces represents a survival strategy utilized by many microbes. Here it is shown that Vibrio cholerae El Tor does not use the virulence-associated toxin-coregulated pilus to form biofilms on borosilicate but rather uses the mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin (MSHA) pilus, which plays no role in pathogenicity. In contrast, attachment of V. cholerae to chitin is shown to be independent of the MSHA pilus, suggesting divergent pathways for biofilm formation on nutritive and nonnutritive abiotic surfaces.

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