Gene expression profile of the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa during biofilm formation in vitro
A biofilm is a community of microorganisms attached to a solid surface. Cells within biofilms differ from planktonic cells, showing higher resistance to biocides, detergent, antibiotic treatments and host defense responses. Even though there are a number of gene expression studies in bacterial biofilm formation, limited information is available concerning plant pathogen. It was previously demonstrated that the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa could grow as a biofilm, a possibly important factor for its pathogenicity. In this study we utilized analysis of microarrays to specifically identify genes expressed in X fastidiosa cells growing in a biofilm, when compared to planktonic cells. About half of the differentially expressed genes encode hypothetical proteins, reflecting the large number of ORFs with unknown functions in bacterial genomes. However, under the biofilm condition we observed an increase in the expression of some housekeeping genes responsible for metabolic functions. We also found a large number of genes from the pXF51 plasmid being differentially expressed. Some of the overexpressed genes in the biofilm condition encode proteins involved in attachment to surfaces. Other genes possibly confer advantages to the bacterium in the environment that it colonizes. This study demonstrates that the gene expression in the biofilm growth condition of the plant pathogen X. fastidiosa is quite similar to other characterized systems.. (C) 2004 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.