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J Microbiol. 2016 Feb;54(2):71-85. doi: 10.1007/s12275-016-5528-7. Epub 2016 Feb 2.

Biofilm dispersion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Pusan National University, Busan, 609-735, Republic of Korea.
Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Pusan National University, Busan, 609-735, Republic of Korea.


In recent decades, many researchers have written numerous articles about microbial biofilms. Biofilm is a complex community of microorganisms and an example of bacterial group behavior. Biofilm is usually considered a sessile mode of life derived from the attached growth of microbes to surfaces, and most biofilms are embedded in self-produced extracellular matrix composed of extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs), such as polysaccharides, extracellular DNAs (eDNA), and proteins. Dispersal, a mode of biofilm detachment indicates active mechanisms that cause individual cells to separate from the biofilm and return to planktonic life. Since biofilm cells are cemented and surrounded by EPSs, dispersal is not simple to do and many researchers are now paying more attention to this active detachment process. Unlike other modes of biofilm detachment such as erosion or sloughing, which are generally considered passive processes, dispersal occurs as a result of complex spatial differentiation and molecular events in biofilm cells in response to various environmental cues, and there are many biological reasons that force bacterial cells to disperse from the biofilms. In this review, we mainly focus on the spatial differentiation of biofilm that is a prerequisite for dispersal, as well as environmental cues and molecular events related to the biofilm dispersal. More specifically, we discuss the dispersal-related phenomena and mechanisms observed in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an important opportunistic human pathogen and representative model organism for biofilm study.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa; anthranilate; biofilm; biofilm dispersion; cyclic-di-GMP; nitric oxide; quorum sensing

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