Roberto KolterDepartment of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
Harvard Medical School
200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
tel: (617) 432-1776; fax: (617) 738-7664
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.
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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