Skip to main content

The Role of sRNAs in Biofilm Formation

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Poster Session II

Noon – 2:00 p.m

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45



* FARE Award Winner


  • S. Cureoglu
  • N. De Lay
  • S. Gottesman


In response to stress, bacteria can form communities of surface adherent cells embedded in a polysaccharide matrix called biofilm, which can create severe problems by providing a barrier to the immune response and antibiotics. In Escherichia coli, we are studying the role of hfq-binding sRNAs (small noncoding regulatory RNAs) in biofilm formation since sRNAs are shown to be important in stress responses. To investigate, we tested whether the overexpression of these sRNAs in biofilm formation (pMicA, pArcZ, pChiX,and pMicF downregulate, while pMcaS, pCsrB, and pDsrA upregulate it). In addition, we tested whether deletion these sRNAs influenced biofilm formation. Interestingly, deletion of DsrA resulted in a strain that was unable to form biofilms. pDsrA*h, plasmid mutant of DsrA that cannot regulate hns, showed decreased levels of biofilm (1/20th of wildtype) suggesting that DsrA is activating biofilm formation through these regions. An hns compensatory mutant of pDsrA*h was created and it restored biofilm, indicating that overexpression of DsrA has a role in biofilm formation through hns regulation. Currently, we are evaluating downstream targets of HNS that may be influencing biofilm formation. Our study provides new insights into sRNAs role on biofilm formation, which may help open an era for treatment of biofilms.

back to top