The bacterium Escherichia coli is one of the best-studied free-living organisms. However, extensive genotypic differences exist between E. coli species, likely due to differences in lifestyle, some strains being harmless commensals whereas others are serious human pathogens.
Completed genome sequences of different E. coli strains have revealed that a high percentage of these genes still have unassigned or poorly characterized function. Current hypotheses consider that this could be partly due to the fact that most of the studies with E. coli have been performed under physiological conditions where these genes are not functional. The intracellular biofilm communities formed by uropathogenic E. coli strains allow bacteria to subvert host defences and constitute a persistent reservoir of infection.
The aim of this project is to identify factors involved in biofilm formation of the uropathogenic E. coli strain and quot;CFT073 that are usually cryptic under laboratory conditions, using two alternative strategies:
- a random conditional over-expression combined with a biofilm positive selection and
- a reverse genetic analysis of uncharacterized potential functional homologues of known adhesins.
These approaches may reveal new biofilm functions leading to a better understanding of the bacterial biology within biofilms.
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