Modelling biofilm formation in spore-forming Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria

Biofilms are multicellular structures of microbial cells attached to a surface, where the cells are surrounded and protected by an extracellular layer (matrix) of polysaccharide, protein and/or DNA. This may constitute the natural way of growth for many bacteria, also frequently during infection in a human host. Biofilms may severely increase the resistance of the cells to attack from antimicrobial compounds / antibiotics and cells of the immune system. In this project we investigate molecular mechanisms regulating biofilm formation in pathogenic Bacillus species belonging to the B. cereus group.

Principal investigator: Professor Ole Andreas Økstad

The formation of biofilms, in which bacterial cells are embedded in a complex multicellular matrix, has important implications for drug resistance, pathogenicity, and ecology of microbial communities. The aim of this project is to identify and analyze genes involved in biofilm formation in the B. cereus group, and to dissect how biofilm formation is regulated, as well as the role of membrane transport proteins in biofilm formation and biofilm drug resistance. This includes in silico comparative sequence analysis, creation of gene knockouts, microarray expression analysis, and screening for biofilm formation.

Participants: Ole Andreas Økstad (group leader), Veronika Smith (PhD student), Sarah Finke (PhD student), Rojin Koosha (MSc student), Mimmi Jingxi Zhang (MSc, student), Ewa Jaroszewicz (Head Engineeer).

Collaborators: Dr. Michel Gohar, INRA, France; Professor Monika Ehling-Schultz, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria; Associate professor Timothy D. Read, Emory University, Atlanta, USA; Dr. Ani Penesyan / Professor Ian T. Paulsen, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Published Feb. 18, 2011 1:04 AM - Last modified Nov. 16, 2015 11:50 PM