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Interactions in Bacterial Biofilm Development: A Structural Perspective

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 8 ]


James A. Garnett and Steve Matthews   Pages 739 - 755 ( 17 )


A community-based life style is the normal mode of growth and survival for many bacterial species. These cellular accretions or biofilms are initiated upon recognition of solid phases by cell surface exposed adhesive moieties. Further cell-cell interactions, cell signalling and bacterial replication leads to the establishment of dense populations encapsulated in a mainly self-produced extracellular matrix; this comprises a complex mixture of macromolecules. These fascinating architectures protect the inhabitants from radiation damage, dehydration, pH fluctuations and antimicrobial compounds. As such they can cause bacterial persistence in disease and problems in industrial applications. In this review we discuss the current understandings of these initial biofilm-forming processes based on structural data. We also briefly describe latter biofilm maturation and dispersal events, which although lack high-resolution insights, are the present focus for many structural biologists working in this field. Finally we give an overview of modern techniques aimed at preventing and disrupting problem biofilms.


Biofilm, adhesion, dispersin, structural biology, Bacterial Biofilm Development, MSCRAMMs, Serine-Rich, LPxTG cell wall, microbial acid, Staphylococcus aureus


Centre for Structural Biology, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

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