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The impact of the competence quorum sensing system on Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms varies depending on the experimental model

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Author(s): Trappetti Claudia | Gualdi Luciana | Di Meola Lorenzo | Jain Prashant | Korir Cindy | Edmonds Paul | Iannelli Francesco | Ricci Susanna | Pozzi Gianni | Oggioni Marco

Journal: BMC Microbiology
ISSN 1471-2180

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Different models for biofilm in Streptococcus pneumoniae have been described in literature. To permit comparison of experimental data, we characterised the impact of the pneumococcal quorum-sensing competence system on biofilm formation in three models. For this scope, we used two microtiter and one continuous culture biofilm system. Results In both microtiter models the competence system influences stability and structure of biofilm in the late attachment phase and synthetic competence stimulating peptide (CSP) restored wild type phenotypes in the comC mutants unable to produce the peptide. Early attachment of single cells to well bottoms was found for both systems to be competence independent, while later phases, including microcolony formation correlated to an intact competence system. The continuous culture biofilm model was not affected by mutations in the competence locus, but deletion of capsule had a significant impact in this model. Conclusions Since biofilm remains a largely uncharacterised multi-parameter phenotype it appears to be advisable to exploit more than one model in order to draw conclusion of possible relevance of specific genotypes on pneumococcal physiology.
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