Journal Article

Biofilm formation by <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i>: role of the C<sub>4</sub>-HSL cell-to-cell signal and inhibition by azithromycin

Sabine Favre-Bonté, Thilo Köhler and Christian Van Delden

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 52, issue 4, pages 598-604
Published in print October 2003 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online October 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkg397
Biofilm formation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa: role of the C4-HSL cell-to-cell signal and inhibition by azithromycin

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Objectives: In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, biofilm formation is controlled by a cell-to-cell signalling circuit relying on the secretion of 3-oxo-C12-HSL and C4-HSL. Previous studies suggested that C4-HSL plays no significant role in biofilm formation. However the wild-type PAO1 strain PAO-BI, used as a control in these studies is itself impaired in the production of C4-HSL. We wondered therefore whether the role of C4-HSL in biofilm formation might have been underestimated, and whether azithromycin inhibits biofilm formation by interfering with cell-to-cell signalling.

Methods: We used isogenic mutants of wild-type PAO1 strains PAO-BI and PT5 in a static biofilm model. Biofilm formation was quantified using Crystal Violet staining and exopolysaccharide measurements.

Results: Wild-type strain PAO-BI, as a result of its reduced C4-HSL secretion, produced 40% less biofilm compared with the wild-type PAO1 strain PT5. Using isogenic mutants of strain PT5 we have shown that whereas a lasI mutant (deficient in 3-oxo-C12-HSL) produced similar amounts of biofilm to the wild-type, a rhlI mutant (deficient in C4-HSL) produced 70% less biofilm. In the latter strain, biofilm formation could be restored by addition of exogenous C4-HSL. Azithromycin, known to reduce the production of both 3-oxo-C12-HSL and C4-HSL, inhibited biofilm formation of wild-type PT5 by 45%. This inhibition could be reversed by the addition of both cell-to-cell signals.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that C4-HSL also plays a significant role in biofilm formation. Furthermore, we demonstrate the potential of using cell-to-cell signalling blocking agents such as azithromycin to interfere with biofilm formation.

Keywords: Keywords: quorum sensing, autoinducers, homoserine-lactones, 3-oxo-C12-HSL

Journal Article.  4406 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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