Transition From Reversible to Irreversible Attachment During Biofilm Formation by Pseudomonas Fluorescens WCS365 Requires an ABC Transporter and a Large Secreted Protein

Mol Microbiol. 2003 Aug;49(4):905-18. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03615.x.


We report the identification of an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter and an associated large cell-surface protein that are required for biofilm formation by Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS365. The genes coding for these proteins are designated lap for large adhesion protein. The LapA protein, with a predicted molecular weight of approximately 900 kDa, is found to be loosely associated with the cell surface and present in the culture supernatant. The LapB, LapC and LapE proteins are predicted to be the cytoplasmic membrane-localized ATPase, membrane fusion protein and outer membrane protein component, respectively, of an ABC transporter. Consistent with this prediction, LapE, like other members of this family, is localized to the outer membrane. We propose that the lapEBC-encoded ABC transporter participates in the secretion of LapA, as strains with mutations in the lapEBC genes do not have detectable LapA associated with the cell surface or in the supernatant. The lap genes are conserved among environmental pseudomonads such as P. putida KT2440, P. fluorescens PfO1 and P. fluorescens WCS365, but are absent from pathogenic pseudomonads such as P. aeruginosa and P. syringae. The wild-type strain of P. fluorescens WCS365 and its lap mutant derivatives were assessed for their biofilm forming ability in static and flow systems. The lap mutant strains are impaired in an early step in biofilm formation and are unable to develop the mature biofilm structure seen for the wild-type bacterium. Time-lapse microscopy studies determined that the lap mutants are unable to progress from reversible (or transient) attachment to the irreversible attachment stage of biofilm development. The lap mutants were also found to be defective in attachment to quartz sand, an abiotic surface these organisms likely encounter in the environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Biofilms*
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial
  • Multigene Family
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens / genetics
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens / physiology*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Silicon Dioxide


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Silicon Dioxide