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Escherichia coli BdcA controls biofilm dispersal in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Rhizobium meliloti

Qun Ma, Guishan Zhang and Thomas K Wood*

Author Affiliations

Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843-3122, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:447  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-447

Published: 26 October 2011



Previously we showed that BdcA controls Escherichia coli biofilm dispersal by binding the ubiquitous bacterial signal cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP); upon reducing the concentration of c-di-GMP, the cell shifts to the planktonic state by increasing motility, decreasing aggregation, and decreasing production of biofilm adhesins.


Here we report that BdcA also increases biofilm dispersal in other Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Rhizobium meliloti. BdcA binds c-di-GMP in these strains and thereby reduces the effective c-di-GMP concentrations as demonstrated by increases in swimming motility and swarming motility as well as by a reduction in extracellular polysaccharide production. We also develop a method to displace existing biofilms by adding BdcA via conjugation from E. coli in mixed-species biofilms.


Since BdcA shows the ability to control biofilm dispersal in diverse bacteria, BdcA has the potential to be used as a tool to disperse biofilms for engineering and medical applications.