This study examined the role of the periplasmic oridative defense proteins, copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (SodC), and thiol peroxidase (Tpx), from the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC) in the formation of biofilms. Proteomic analyses have shown significantly higher expression levels of both periplasmic antioxidant systems (SodC and Tpx) in STEC cells grown under biofilm conditions than under planktonic conditions. An analysis of their growth phase-dependent gene expression indicated that a high level of the sodC expression occurred during the stationary phase and that the expression of the tpx gene was strongly induced only during the exponential growth phase. Exogenous hydrogen peroxide reduced the aerobic growth of the STEC sodC and tpx mutants by more than that of their parental strain. The two mutants also displayed significant reductions in their attachment to both biotic (HT-29 epithelial cell) and abiotic surfaces (polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride microplates) during static aerobic growth. However, the growth rates of both wild-type and mutants were similar under aerobic growth conditions. The formation of an STEC biofilm was only observed with the wild-type STEC cells in glass capillary tubes under continuous flow-culture conditions compared with the STEC sodC and tpx mutants. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first mutational study to show the contribution of sodC and tpx gene products to the formation of an E. coli O157:H7 biofilm. These results also suggest that these biofilms are physiologically heterogeneous and that oxidative stress defenses in both the exponential and stationary growth stages play important roles in the formation of STEC biofilms.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Oxidative stress