Absence of TolC impairs biofilm formation in Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae by reducing initial attachment

Ying Li, Sanjie Cao, Luhua Zhang, Jianlin Yuan, Gee W. Lau, Yiping Wen, Rui Wu, Qin Zhao, Xiaobo Huang, Qigui Yan, Yong Huang, Xintian Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae is the etiologic agent of porcine contagious pleuropneumonia, a major cause of economic loss in swine industry worldwide. TolC, the key component of multidrug efflux pumps and type I secretion systems, has been well-studied as an exit duct for numerous substances in many Gram-negative bacteria. By contrast, little is known on the role of TolC in biofilm formation. In this study, a ΔtolC mutant was used to examine the importance of TolC in biofilm formation of A. pleuropneumoniae. Surface attachment assays demonstrated the essential role of TolC in initial attachment of biofilm cells. The loss of TolC function altered surface hydrophobicity, and resulted in greatly reduced autoaggregation in ΔtolC. Using both enzymatic treatments and confocal microscopy, biofilm composition and architecture were characterized. When compared against the wild-type strain, the poly-β-1, 6-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (PGA), an important biofilm matrix component of A. pleuropneumoniae, was significantly reduced at the initial attachment stage in ΔtolC. These results were confirmed by mRNA level using quantitative RT-PCR. Additionally, defective secretion systems in ΔtolC may also contribute to the deficiency in biofilm formation. Taken together, the current study demonstrated the importance of TolC in the initial biofilm formation stage in A. pleuropneumoniae. These findings could have important clinical implications in developing new treatments against biofilm-related infections by A. pleuropneumoniae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0163364
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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