Efficient Suppression of Biofilm Formation by a Nucleic Acid Aptamer

Pathog Dis. 2015 Aug;73(6):ftv034. doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftv034. Epub 2015 May 29.


Biofilms are microbial communities that are attached to a solid surface using extracellular polymeric substances. Motility and initial attachment mediated by flagella are required for biofilm formation. Therefore, blocking the motility of flagella is a potential strategy to inhibit biofilm formation. In this study, single-stranded DNA aptamers specific to the Salmonella choleraesuis were selected after 14 cycles of the systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment. Among the selected aptamers, the aptamer 3 showed the highest affinity for S. choleraesuis with a dissociation constant (Kd) of 41 ± 2 nM. Aptamer 3, conjugated with magnetic beads, was then used to capture its binding target on the bacteria. After mass spectrometry and specific binding analysis, the flagellin was identified as the target captured by aptamer 3. Furthermore, inhibition experiments, inverted microscopy and atomic force microscopy demonstrated that aptamer 3 was able to control the biofilm formation and promote the inhibitory effect of an antibiotic on bacterial biofilms. Single-stranded DNA aptamers therefore have great potential as inhibitors of biofilm formation.

Keywords: SELEX; Salmonella choleraesuis; aptamer; biofilm; biomarker; flagellin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / isolation & purification
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / metabolism*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Flagellin / metabolism
  • Microscopy
  • Protein Binding
  • SELEX Aptamer Technique
  • Salmonella / drug effects*
  • Salmonella / physiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Flagellin