Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a common pathogen associated with diseases such as acute otitis media or exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The biofilm-forming capability substantially contributes to the persistence of NTHi. However, the regulation of biofilm formation is not completely understood. Quorum sensing regulated by autoinducer-2 produced by luxS is until now the only described regulatory mechanism. In this study, we show that the two-component signalling system QseB/C is involved in the biofilm formation of NTHi in vitro. An isogenic NTHi mutant of qseC (Hi3655KR2) showed a significant decrease in biofilm formation under static and semi-static conditions as assessed by crystal violet staining. In addition, under constant flow conditions, Hi3655KR2 formed less biofilm after 48 h. The biofilm defects were irrespective of autoinducer-2 levels. Hence, here we suggest for the first time a regulatory circuit in NTHi, which controls biofilm formation by mechanisms other than or in addition to luxS-dependent factors.
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