Identifying temperature-specific biofilm adaptations in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Date

2020-05

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Abstract

Bacteria are known to produce highly adaptable multicellular communities called biofilms. A biofilm is a group of microorganisms that adheres to a surface by utilizing an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix. The ability for bacteria to form a biofilm varies depending on its environment and classification of bacteria. Biofilms impact the environment as well as human health and industry. The nosocomial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known for its ability to form vigorous biofilms. The ability of P. aeruginosa to form biofilms can contribute to antibiotic and antimicrobial tolerance. Studies in the past have shown that exposing biofilms to different environmental factors, such as temperature fluctuations, can cause different morphological expressions. Importantly, this project will explore how the temperature fluctuations experienced by P. aeruginosa as it transitions from environmental to host-associated conditions can alter its survival and adaptability. The project goal is to identify genes required for temperature-driven biofilm adaptation from a transposon insertion mutant library of P. aeruginosa. Several candidate genes were selected for further study after an initial screen of the library at four different temperatures: room temperature, 30°C, 37°C, and 40°C. These mutants of interest included a quorum sensing regulator and an oxygen-sensitive transcription factor. My intention is to investigate the biofilm formation, EPS composition, and stressor susceptibility of these selected mutants in response to temperature fluctuations. In the end, the goal is to identify drug targets that can be used to eradicate biofilms specifically in industrial or clinical settings.

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Keywords

Biofilms, Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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