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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2016;80(1):7-12. doi: 10.1080/09168451.2015.1058701. Epub 2015 Jun 23.

Environmental factors that shape biofilm formation.

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a Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences , University of Tsukuba , Tsukuba , Japan.
b Departoment of Civil and Environmental Engineering , Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge , USA.


Cells respond to the environment and alter gene expression. Recent studies have revealed the social aspects of bacterial life, such as biofilm formation. Biofilm formation is largely affected by the environment, and the mechanisms by which the gene expression of individual cells affects biofilm development have attracted interest. Environmental factors determine the cell's decision to form or leave a biofilm. In addition, the biofilm structure largely depends on the environment, implying that biofilms are shaped to adapt to local conditions. Second messengers such as cAMP and c-di-GMP are key factors that link environmental factors with gene regulation. Cell-to-cell communication is also an important factor in shaping the biofilm. In this short review, we will introduce the basics of biofilm formation and further discuss environmental factors that shape biofilm formation. Finally, the state-of-the-art tools that allow us investigate biofilms under various conditions are discussed.


biofilm; environment; quorum sensing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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