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Microbiology. 2009 May;155(Pt 5):1523-1535. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.026500-0. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

The high-affinity phosphate transporter Pst in Proteus mirabilis HI4320 and its importance in biofilm formation.

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Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, University of Maryland - Baltimore, Dental School, 650 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.
Center for Genomic Sciences, Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, 320 East North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Proteus mirabilis causes urinary tract infections (UTIs) in individuals requiring long-term indwelling catheterization. The pathogenesis of this uropathogen is mediated by a number of virulence factors and the formation of crystalline biofilms. In addition, micro-organisms have evolved complex systems for the acquisition of nutrients, including the phosphate-specific transport system, which has been shown to be important in biofilm formation and pathogenesis. A functional Pst system is important during UTIs caused by P. mirabilis HI4320, since transposon mutants in the PstS periplasmic binding protein and the PstA permease protein were attenuated in the CBA mouse model of UTI. These mutants displayed a defect in biofilm formation when grown in human urine. This study focuses on a comparison of the proteomes during biofilm and planktonic growth in phosphate-rich medium and human urine, and microscopic investigations of biofilms formed by the pst mutants. Our data suggest that (i) the Deltapst mutants, and particularly the DeltapstS mutant, are defective in biofilm formation, and (ii) the proteomes of these mutants differ significantly from that of the wild-type. Therefore, since the Pst system of P. mirabilis HI4320 negatively regulates biofilm formation, this system is important for the pathogenesis of these organisms during complicated UTIs.

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