1 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark2 Bacterial Ecophysiology and Biotechnology, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark3 Metabolic Signaling and Regulation, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark4 Metabolomics Platform, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark5 Center for Microbial Biotechnology, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark
In many species of the marine Roseobacter clade, periods of attached life, in association with phytoplankton or particles, are interspersed with planktonic phases. The purpose of this study was to determine whether shifts between motile and sessile life in the globally abundant Roseobacter clade species Ruegeria mobilis are associated with intracellular concentrations of the signal compound cyclic dimeric guanosinmonophosphate (c-di-GMP), which in bacteria regulates transitions between motile and sessile life stages. Genes for diguanylate cyclases and phosphodiesterases, which are involved in c-di-GMP signalling, were found in the genome of R. mobilis strain F1926. Ion pair chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry revealed 20-fold higher c-di-GMP concentrations per cell in biofilm-containing cultures than in planktonic cells. An introduced diguanylate cyclase gene increased c-di-GMP and enhanced biofilm formation and production of the potent antibiotic tropodithietic acid (TDA). An introduced phosphodiesterase gene decreased c-di-GMP and reduced biofilm formation and TDA production. tdaC, a key gene for TDA biosynthesis, was expressed only in attached or biofilm-forming cells, and expression was induced immediately after initial attachment. In conclusion, c-di-GMP signalling controls biofilm formation and biofilm-associated traits in R. mobilis and, as suggested by presence of GGDEF and EAL domain protein genes, also in other Roseobacter clade species.