Indole affects the formation of multicellular aggregate structures in Pantoea agglomerans YS19

J Gen Appl Microbiol. 2016;62(1):31-7. doi: 10.2323/jgam.62.31.


Pantoea agglomerans YS19 is an endophytic diazotrophic bacterium isolated from rice. As well as having the ability to form a biofilm, as do most bacteria, it is characterized by the formation of a unique multicellular aggregate structure called symplasmata. Indole is traditionally known as a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan, which, however, has recently been shown to participate in various regulations of bacterial physiological processes, including stress resistance, quorum sensing and biofilm formation. Here, an indole signal was found to promote symplasmata formation, yet inhibit biofilm formation, indicating different regulatory pathways of indole in the construction of the two structures. However, symplasmata showed almost an equivalent stress-resistant capability, as compared with biofilms, for YS19 to confront acids, heavy metals (Cu(2+)), and UV treatments. Moreover, indole was tested to show a promoting effect on exopolysaccharides (EPS) production and an inhibition effect on the expression of an outer membrane protein OmpW. These results provide evidence for understanding the regulatory mechanisms of indole on such multicellular aggregates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Indoles / metabolism*
  • Pantoea / drug effects*
  • Pantoea / physiology*


  • Indoles
  • indole