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Cell. 2014 Feb 13;156(4):844-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.012.

Norspermidine is not a self-produced trigger for biofilm disassembly.

Author information

1
Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD15EH, UK.
2
Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.
3
Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD15EH, UK.
4
Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD15EH, UK. Electronic address: n.r.stanleywall@dundee.ac.uk.
5
Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA. Electronic address: anthony.michael@utsouthwestern.edu.

Abstract

Formation of Bacillus subtilis biofilms, consisting of cells encapsulated within an extracellular matrix of exopolysaccharide and protein, requires the polyamine spermidine. A recent study reported that (1) related polyamine norspermidine is synthesized by B. subtilis using the equivalent of the Vibrio cholerae biosynthetic pathway, (2) exogenous norspermidine at 25 μM prevents B. subtilis biofilm formation, (3) endogenous norspermidine is present in biofilms at 50-80 μM, and (4) norspermidine prevents biofilm formation by condensing biofilm exopolysaccharide. In contrast, we find that, at concentrations up to 200 μM, exogenous norspermidine promotes biofilm formation. We find that norspermidine is absent in wild-type B. subtilis biofilms at all stages, and higher concentrations of exogenous norspermidine eventually inhibit planktonic growth and biofilm formation in an exopolysaccharide-independent manner. Moreover, orthologs of the V. cholerae norspermidine biosynthetic pathway are absent from B. subtilis, confirming that norspermidine is not physiologically relevant to biofilm function in this species.

PMID:
24529384
PMCID:
PMC3969229
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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