Engineering Alkane-Inducible Fimbriation in Escherichia Coli



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Fimbriae are small, hair-like appendages arranged on many bacteria’s outer-membrane surfaces used for binding to biotic and abiotic surfaces to resist shear forces and attach to nutrient sources. Fimbriae are important in the initial attachment of cells to a substrate as well as the subsequent irreversible attachment to a surface. In this investigation, E. coli was engineered to over-express fimbriae in response to the presence of IPTG and DCPK. The over-expression of fimbriae in E. coli resulted in a pronounced response to the agglutination of mannose-containing yeast cells, causing them to sediment from solution at a much faster rate than wild-type or fimbrial deletion strains. Furthermore, the presence of fimbriae resulted in a significantly higher partitioning of cells into hydrocarbon sources across a range of alkanes. Lastly, the presence of fimbriae was shown to be essential in the development of biofilms, where only strains expressing fimbriae resulted in biofilm formation.



Escherichia coli, Fimbriae/pili, IPTG-inducible, DCPK-inducible, Hydrocarbons, Alkanes, Microbial adhesion to hydrocarbons (MATH), Specific biofilm formation (SBF), Yeast agglutination assay (YAA), Biofilms, Bioremediation, Fimbriation