Vibrio fischeri biofilm formation prevented by a trio of regulators

Cecilia M. Thompson, Anne E. Marsden, Alice H. Tischler, Jovanka Koo, Karen L. Visick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Biofilms, complex communities of microorganisms surrounded by a selfproduced matrix, facilitate attachment and provide protection to bacteria. A natural model used to study biofilm formation is the symbiosis between Vibrio fischeri and its host, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes. Host-relevant biofilm formation is a tightly regulated process and is observed in vitro only with strains that have been genetically manipulated to overexpress or disrupt specific regulators, primarily two-component signaling (TCS) regulators. These regulators control biofilm formation by dictating the production of the symbiosis polysaccharide (Syp-PS), the major component of the biofilm matrix. Control occurs both at and below the level of transcription of the syp genes, which are responsible for Syp-PS production. Here, we probed the roles of the two known negative regulators of biofilm formation, BinK and SypE, by generating double mutants. We also mapped and evaluated a point mutation using natural transformation and linkage analysis. We examined traditional biofilm formation phenotypes and established a new assay for evaluating the start of biofilm formation in the form of microscopic aggregates in shaking liquid cultures, in the absence of the known biofilm-inducing signal calcium. We found that wrinkled colony formation is negatively controlled not only by BinK and SypE but also by SypF. SypF is both required for and inhibitory to biofilm formation. Together, these data reveal that these three regulators are sufficient to prevent wildtype V. fischeri from forming biofilms under these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01257-18
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • BinK
  • Biofilm
  • Response regulator
  • Sensor kinase
  • Syp
  • Twocomponent regulatory systems
  • Vibrio fischeri

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vibrio fischeri biofilm formation prevented by a trio of regulators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this