Pseudomonas aeruginosa is capable of natural transformation in biofilms

Laura M. Nolan, Lynne Turnbull, Marilyn Katrib, Sarah R. Osvath, Davide Losa, James J. Lazenby, Cynthia B. Whitchurch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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Natural transformation is a mechanism that enables competent bacteria to acquire naked, exogenous DNA from the environment. It is a key process that facilitates the dissemination of antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants throughout bacterial populations. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic Gram-negative pathogen that produces large quantities of extracellular DNA (eDNA) that is required for biofilm formation. P. aeruginosa has a remarkable level of genome plasticity and diversity that suggests a high degree of horizontal gene transfer and recombination but is thought to be incapable of natural transformation. Here we show that P. aeruginosa possesses homologues of all proteins known to be involved in natural transformation in other bacterial species. We found that P. aeruginosa in biofilms is competent for natural transformation of both genomic and plasmid DNA. Furthermore, we demonstrate that type-IV pili (T4P) facilitate but are not absolutely essential for natural transformation in P. aeruginosa .
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995–1003
Number of pages9
Issue number10
Early online date4 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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