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Biofilm development and cell death in the marine bacterium pseudoalteromonas tunicata

Mai-Prochnow, Anne, Evans, Flavia, Dalisay-Saludes, Doralyn, Stelzer, Sacha, Egan, Suhelen, James, Sally, Webb, Jeremy S. and Kjelleberg, Staffan (2004) Biofilm development and cell death in the marine bacterium pseudoalteromonas tunicata Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70, (6), pp. 3232-3238. (doi:10.1128/AEM.70.6.3232-3238.2004).

Record type: Article


The newly described green-pigmented bacterium Pseudoalteromonas tunicata (D2) produces target-specific inhibitory compounds against bacteria, algae, fungi, and invertebrate larvae and is frequently found in association with living surfaces in the marine environment. As part of our studies on the ecology of P. tunicata and its interaction with marine surfaces, we examined the ability of P. tunicata to form biofilms under continuous culture conditions within the laboratory. P. tunicata biofilms exhibited a characteristic architecture consisting of differentiated microcolonies surrounded by water channels.

Remarkably, we observed a repeatable pattern of cell death during biofilm development of P. tunicata, similar to that recently reported for biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (J. S. Webb et al., J. Bacteriol. 185:4585-4595, 2003). Killing and lysis occurred inside microcolonies, apparently resulting in the formation of voids within these structures. A subpopulation of viable cells was always observed within the regions of killing in the biofilm. Moreover, extensive killing in mature biofilms appeared to result in detachment of the biofilm from the substratum. A novel 190-kDa autotoxic protein produced by P. tunicata, designated AlpP, was found to be involved in this biofilm killing and detachment. A alpP mutant derivative of P. tunicata was generated, and this mutant did not show cell death during biofilm development. We propose that AlpP-mediated cell death plays an important role in the multicellular biofilm development of P. tunicata and subsequent dispersal of surviving cells within the marine environment.

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Published date: June 2004


Local EPrints ID: 186835
ISSN: 0099-2240
PURE UUID: 9e5a4004-c3fd-4499-83bb-4d1832483307
ORCID for Jeremy S. Webb: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 20 May 2011 13:55
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:46

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Author: Anne Mai-Prochnow
Author: Flavia Evans
Author: Doralyn Dalisay-Saludes
Author: Sacha Stelzer
Author: Suhelen Egan
Author: Sally James
Author: Jeremy S. Webb ORCID iD
Author: Staffan Kjelleberg

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