CsgA production by Escherichia coli O157:H7 alters attachment to abiotic surfaces in some growth environments

Rebecca Goulter-Thorsen, Elena Taran, Ian Gentle, Kari Gobius, Gary Dykes

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    The role of curli expression in attachment of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to glass, Teflon, and stainless steel (SS) was investigated through the creation of csgA knockout mutants in two isolates of E. coli O157:H7. Attachment assays using epifluorescence microscopy and measurements of the force of adhesion of bacterial cells to the substrates using atomic force microscopy (AFM) force mapping were used to determine differences in attachment between wild-type (wt) and csgA-negative (Delta csgA) strains following growth in four different media. The hydrophobicity of the cells was determined using contact angle measurements (CAM) and bacterial adhesion to hydrocarbons (BATH). The attachment assay results indicated that Delta csgA strains attached to glass, Teflon, and SS surfaces in significantly different numbers than their wt counterparts in a growth medium-dependent fashion (P <0.05). However, no clear correlation was seen between attachment numbers, surface type, or growth medium. No correlation was seen between BATH and CAM results (R(2) <0.70). Hydrophobicity differed between the wt and Delta csgA in some cases in a growth medium-and method-dependent fashion (P <0.05). AFM force mapping revealed no significant difference in the forces of adhesion to glass and SS surfaces between wt and Delta csgA strains (P > 0.05) but a significantly greater force of adhesion to Teflon for one of the two wt strains than for its Delta csgA counterpart (P <0.05). This study shows that CsgA production by E. coli O157:H7 may alter attachment behavior in some environments; however, further investigation is required in order to determine the exact relationship between CsgA production and attachment to abiotic surfaces.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7339 - 7344
    Number of pages6
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number20
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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