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Microb Biotechnol. 2010 Nov;3(6):717-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2010.00220.x.

Engineering global regulator Hha of Escherichia coli to control biofilm dispersal.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-3122, USA.


The global transcriptional regulator Hha of Escherichia coli controls biofilm formation and virulence. Previously, we showed that Hha decreases initial biofilm formation; here, we engineered Hha for two goals: to increase biofilm dispersal and to reduce biofilm formation. Using random mutagenesis, Hha variant Hha13D6 (D22V, L40R, V42I and D48A) was obtained that causes nearly complete biofilm dispersal (96%) by increasing apoptosis without affecting initial biofilm formation. Hha13D6 caused cell death probably by the activation of proteases since Hha-mediated dispersal was dependent on protease HslV. Hha variant Hha24E9 (K62X) was also obtained that decreased biofilm formation by inducing gadW, glpT and phnF but that did not alter biofilm dispersal. Hence, Hha may be engineered to influence both biofilm dispersal and formation.

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