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Identification of Bacillus subtilis SipW as a Bifunctional Signal Peptidase That Controls Surface-Adhered Biofilm Formation

Identification of Bacillus subtilis SipW as a Bifunctional Signal Peptidase That Controls Surface-Adhered Biofilm Formation

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Original languageEnglish
Pages2781-2790
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Journal publication dateJun 2012
Volume194
Issue11
DOIs
StatePublished

Abstract

Biofilms of microbial cells encased in an exopolymeric matrix can form on solid surfaces, but how bacteria sense a solid surface and upregulate biofilm genes is largely unknown. We investigated the role of the Bacillus subtilis signal peptidase, SipW, which has a unique role in forming biofilms on a solid surface and is not required at an air-liquid interface. Surprisingly, we found that the signal peptidase activity of SipW was not required for solid-surface biofilms. Furthermore, a SipW mutant protein was constructed that lacks the ability to form a solid-surface biofilm but still retains signal peptidase activity. Through genetic and gene expression tests, the non-signal peptidase role of SipW was found to activate biofilm matrix genes specifically when cells were on a solid surface. These data provide the first evidence that a signal peptidase is bifunctional and that SipW has a regulatory role in addition to its role as a signal peptidase.

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