The extracellular matrix protects Escherichia coli from immune cells, oxidative stress, predation, and other environmental stresses. Production of the E. coli extracellular matrix is regulated by transcription factors that are tuned to environmental conditions. The biofilm master regulator protein CsgD upregulates curli and cellulose, the two major polymers in the extracellular matrix of uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) biofilms. We found that cyclic AMP (cAMP) regulates curli, cellulose, and UPEC biofilms through csgD. The alarmone cAMP is produced by adenylate cyclase (CyaA), and deletion of cyaA resulted in reduced extracellular matrix production and biofilm formation. The catabolite repressor protein (CRP) positively regulated csgD transcription, leading to curli and cellulose production in the UPEC isolate, UTI89. Glucose, a known inhibitor of CyaA activity, blocked extracellular matrix formation when added to the growth medium. The mutant strains ΔcyaA and Δcrp did not produce rugose biofilms, pellicles, curli, cellulose, or CsgD. Three putative CRP binding sites were identified within the csgD-csgB intergenic region, and purified CRP could gel shift the csgD-csgB intergenic region. Additionally, we found that CRP binded upstream of kpsMT, which encodes machinery for K1 capsule production. Together our work shows that cAMP and CRP influence E. coli biofilms through transcriptional regulation of csgD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3329-3334
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2016


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