Effect of extracellular DNA destruction by DNase I on characteristics of forming biofilms

DNA Cell Biol. 2010 Aug;29(8):399-405. doi: 10.1089/dna.2009.1011.


Biofilm formation plays a crucial role in the development of different infections. This study was designed to examine the effects of extracellular DNA destruction by DNase I on characteristics of forming bacterial biofilms. We have found that extracellular matrix of biofilms formed in the presence of DNase I contains extracellular DNA fragments of about 30 kb. These data support the idea that cell-free DNA is constantly released to the extracellular matrix of bacterial biofilms. Our results indicate that extracellular DNA plays an important role in the properties of forming biofilms. Biofilms formed in the presence of DNase I (5.0 microg/mL) displayed reduced biofilm biomass, total bacterial biomass, decreased viability of bacteria, and decreased tolerance to antibiotics. The fact that destruction of extracellular DNA in forming biofilms by DNase I leads to the formation of an altered microbial community with decreased tolerance to environmental factors suggests the possibility to change the characteristics of forming biofilms by modifying cell-free DNA.

MeSH terms

  • Ampicillin / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Biofilms*
  • Biomass
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Deoxyribonuclease I / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Ofloxacin / pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ampicillin
  • DNA
  • Ofloxacin
  • Deoxyribonuclease I