A transposon mutant library of Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987 reveals novel genes required for biofilm formation and implicates motility as an important factor for pellicle-biofilm formation

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  • Mira Ursula Okshevsky
  • ,
  • Matilde Greve Louw, Denmark
  • Elena Otero Lamela, Denmark
  • Martin Nilsson, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Tim Tolker-Nielsen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Rikke Louise Meyer
Bacillus cereus is one of the most common opportunistic pathogens causing foodborne illness, as well as a common source of contamination in the dairy industry. B. cereus can form robust biofilms on food processing surfaces, resulting in food contamination due to shedding of cells and spores. Despite the medical and industrial relevance of this species, the genetic basis of biofilm formation in B. cereus is not well studied. In order to identify genes required for biofilm formation in this bacterium, we created a library of 5000 + transposon mutants of the biofilm-forming strain B. cereusATCC 10987, using an unbiased mariner transposon approach. The mutant library was screened for the ability to form a pellicle biofilm at the air-media interface, as well as a submerged biofilm at the solid-media interface. A total of 91 genes were identified as essential for biofilm formation. These genes encode functions such as chemotaxis, amino acid metabolism and cellular repair mechanisms, and include numerous genes not previously known to be required for biofilm formation. Although the majority of disrupted genes are not directly responsible for motility, further investigations revealed that the vast majority of the biofilm-deficient mutants were also motility impaired. This observation implicates motility as a pivotal factor in the formation of a biofilm by B. cereus. These results expand our knowledge of the fundamental molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation by B. cereus.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00552
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

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