Different, overlapping mechanisms for colonization of abiotic and plant surfaces by Pseudomonas putida


  • Editor: David Clarke

Correspondence: Manuel Espinosa-Urgel, Department of Environmental Protection, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, CSIC, Profesor Albareda 1, Granada 18008, Spain. Tel.: +34 958 181 600; fax: +34 958 129 600; e-mail: manuel.espinosa@eez.csic.es


Mechanisms governing biofilm formation have generated considerable interest in recent years, yet comparative analyses of processes for bacterial establishment on abiotic and biotic surfaces are still limited. In this report we have expanded previous information on the genetic determinants required for colonization of plant surfaces by Pseudomonas putida populations and analyzed their correlation with biofilm formation processes on abiotic surfaces. Insertional mutations affecting flagellar genes or the synthesis and transport of the large adhesin LapA lead to decreased adhesion to seeds and biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces. The latter also causes reduced fitness in the rhizosphere. Decreased seed adhesion and altered biofilm formation kinetics are observed in mutants affected in heme biosynthesis and a gene that might participate in oxidative stress responses, whereas a mutant in a gene involved in cytochrome oxidase assembly is affected in the bacterium–plant interaction but not in bacterial establishment on abiotic surfaces. Finally, a mutant altered in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis is impaired in seed and root colonization but seems to initiate attachment to plastic faster than the wild type. This variety of phenotypes reflects the complexity of bacterial adaptation to sessile life, and the partial overlap between mechanisms leading to biofilm formation on abiotic and biotic surfaces.