Adherent growth of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 with and without the TOL plasmid (pWWO) at the solid-liquid and air-liquid interface was examined. We compared biofilm formation on glass in flow cells, and assayed pellicle (air-liquid interface biofilm) formation in stagnant liquid cultures by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The TOL-carrying strains formed pellicles and thick biofilms, whereas the same strains without the plasmid displayed little adherent growth. Microscopy using fluorescent nucleic acid-specific stains revealed differences in the production of extracellular polymeric substances: TOL carriage leads to more extracellular DNA (eDNA) in pellicles and biofilms. Pellicles were dissolved by DNase I treatment. Enhanced cell lysis due to plasmid carriage was ruled out as the mechanism for eDNA release. We report, for the first time, that carriage of a conjugative plasmid leads to increased biofilm formation by production of eDNA.
F E M S Microbiology Letters, 2010, Vol 312, Issue 1, p. 84-92
TOL plasmid; biofilm; extracellular DNA; air-liquid interface; BRIC