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PLOS ONE  2013 

Whole Transcriptome Analysis of Acinetobacter baumannii Assessed by RNA-Sequencing Reveals Different mRNA Expression Profiles in Biofilm Compared to Planktonic Cells

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072968

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Abstract:

Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a dangerous opportunistic pathogen, with many strains able to form biofilms and thus cause persistent infections. The aim of the present study was to use high-throughput sequencing techniques to establish complete transcriptome profiles of planktonic (free-living) and sessile (biofilm) forms of A. baumannii ATCC 17978 and thereby identify differences in their gene expression patterns. Collections of mRNA from planktonic (both exponential and stationary phase cultures) and sessile (biofilm) cells were sequenced. Six mRNA libraries were prepared following the mRNA-Seq protocols from Illumina. Reads were obtained in a HiScanSQ platform and mapped against the complete genome to describe the complete mRNA transcriptomes of planktonic and sessile cells. The results showed that the gene expression pattern of A. baumannii biofilm cells was distinct from that of planktonic cells, including 1621 genes over-expressed in biofilms relative to stationary phase cells and 55 genes expressed only in biofilms. These differences suggested important changes in amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, motility, active transport, DNA-methylation, iron acquisition, transcriptional regulation, and quorum sensing, among other processes. Disruption or deletion of five of these genes caused a significant decrease in biofilm formation ability in the corresponding mutant strains. Among the genes over-expressed in biofilm cells were those in an operon involved in quorum sensing. One of them, encoding an acyl carrier protein, was shown to be involved in biofilm formation as demonstrated by the significant decrease in biofilm formation by the corresponding knockout strain. The present work serves as a basis for future studies examining the complex network systems that regulate bacterial biofilm formation and maintenance.

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