Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17384304
Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2007 May;73(10):3391-403
Despite the economic and sanitary problems caused by harmful biofilms, biofilms are nonetheless used empirically in industrial environmental and bioremediation processes and may be of potential use in medical settings for interfering with pathogen development. Escherichia coli is one of the bacteria with which biofilm formation has been studied in great detail, and it is especially appreciated for biotechnology applications because of its genetic amenability. Here we describe the development of two new genetic tools enabling the constitutive and inducible expression of any gene or operon of interest at its native locus. In addition to providing valuable tools for complementation and overexpression experiments, these two compact genetic cassettes were used to modulate the biofilm formation capacities of E. coli by taking control of two biofilm-promoting factors, autotransported antigen 43 adhesin and the bscABZC cellulose operon. The modulation of the biofilm formation capacities of E. coli or those of other bacteria capable of being genetically manipulated may be of use both for reducing and for improving the impact of biofilms in a number of industrial and medical applications.