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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 May 15;199(1):67-71.

Gene expression and protein levels of the stationary phase sigma factor, RpoS, in continuously-fed Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms.

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Center for Biolfilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717-3980, USA.


Bacteria growing in biofilms experience gradients of environmental conditions, including varying levels of nutrients and oxygen. Therefore, bacteria within biofilms may enter distinct physiological states, depending on the surrounding conditions. In this study, rpoS expression and RpoS levels were measured as indicators of stationary phase growth within thick continuously-fed Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. The level of rpoS expression in a 3-day-old biofilm was found to be three-fold higher than the average expression in stationary phase planktonic culture. RpoS levels in biofilms, indicated by immunoblot analysis, were similar to levels in stationary phase planktonic cultures. In planktonic cultures, oxygen limitation did not lead to increased levels of RpoS, suggesting that oxygen limitation was not the environmental signal causing increased expression of rpoS. These results suggest that bacteria within P. aeruginosa biofilms may exhibit stationary phase characteristics even when cultured in flow conditions that continually replenish nutrients.

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