Roberto Kolter

Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Harvard Medical School
Building D1-219
200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

tel: (617) 432-1776; fax: (617) 738-7664

Research Interests:

Bacterial Biofilms. Biofilm formation is a complex developmental process which is regulated by environmental signals and bears many similarities to the development of multicellular organism. A non-biased genetic approach is being used to isolate mutants defective in biofilm formation. The identification of genes required for biofilm formation is proving to be a fruitful strategy to dissect this complex system. Currently, we are isolating and characterizing biofilm mutants in five different bacterial species: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholerae, and Shewanella putrefaciones. The genetic studies are being complemented by microscopic analyses of cell-to-surface and cell-to-cell interactions required for biofilm formation, and physiological dissection of signaling pathways involved in biofilm formation, maintenance and dissolution.

Selected Publications:

O'Toole, G., H.B. Kaplan and R. Kolter. (2000). Biofilm formation as microbial development. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 54:49-79.

Danese, P.N., L.A. Pratt, S.L. Dove and R. Kolter. (2000). The outer membrane protein, Antigen 43, mediates cell-to-cell interactions within Escherichia coli biofilms. Molec. Microbiol. 37:424-432.

Watnick, P.I., C.M. Lauriano, K.E. Klose, L. Croal and R. Kolter. (2001). The absence of a flagellum leads to altered colony morphology, biofilm development and virulence in Vibrio cholerae 0139. Molec. Microbiol. 39:223-235.

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