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Aeromonas flagella (polar and lateral) are enterocyte adhesins that contribute to biofilm formation on surfaces

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 15:00 authored by Kirov, SM, Castrisios, M, Shaw, JG
Aeromonas spp. (gram-negative, aquatic bacteria which include enteropathogenic strains) have two distinct flagellar systems, namely a polar flagellum for swimming in liquid and multiple lateral flagella for swarming over surfaces. Only ∼60% of mesophilic strains can produce lateral flagella. To evaluate flagellar contributions to Aeromonas intestinal colonization, we compared polar and lateral flagellar mutant strains of a diarrheal isolate of Aeromonas caviae for the ability to adhere to the intestinal cell lines Henle 407 and Caco-2, which have the characteristic features of human intestinal enterocytes. Strains lacking polar flagella were virtually nonadherent to these cell lines, while loss of the lateral flagellum decreased adherence by ∼60% in comparison to the wild-type level. Motility mutants (unable to swim or swarm in agar assays) had adhesion levels of ∼50% of wild-type values, irrespective of their flagellar expression. Flagellar mutant strains were also evaluated for the ability to form biofilms in a borosilicate glass tube model which was optimized for Aeromonas spp. (broth inoculum, with a 16- to 20-h incubation at 37°C). All flagellar mutants showed a decreased ability to form biofilms (at least 30% lower than the wild type). For the chemotactic motility mutant cheA, biofilm formation decreased >80% from the wild-type level. The complementation of flagellar phenotypes (polar flagellar mutants) restored biofilms to wild-type levels. We concluded that both flagellar types are enterocyte adhesins and need to be fully functional for optimal biofilm formation.


Publication title

Infection and Immunity










Tasmanian School of Medicine


American Society for Microbiology

Place of publication

Washington, DC

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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