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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Dec;50(5):1665-82.

The RcsC sensor kinase is required for normal biofilm formation in Escherichia coli K-12 and controls the expression of a regulon in response to growth on a solid surface.

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Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK.


Bacteria are often found associated with surfaces as sessile bacterial communities called biofilms, and the formation of a biofilm can be split up into different stages each requiring the expression of specific genes. The production of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) is important for the maturation of biofilms and is controlled by the Rcs two-component pathway in Escherichia coli (and other Gram-negative bacteria). In this study, we show, for the first time, that the RcsC sensor kinase is required for normal biofilm development in E. coli. Moreover, using a combination of DNA macroarray technology and transcriptional fusion analysis, we show that the expression of > 150 genes is controlled by RcsC in E. coli. In silico analyses of the RcsC regulon predicts that 50% of the genes encode proteins that are either localized to the envelope of E. coli or have activities that affect the structure/properties of the bacterial surface, e.g. the production of colanic acid. Moreover, we also show that RcsC is activated during growth on a solid surface. Therefore, we suggest that the RcsC sensor kinase may play an important role in the remodelling of the bacterial surface during growth on a solid surface and biofilm formation.

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