Microbiologically influenced corrosion causes $100 billion in damage per year, and biofilms formed by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are the major culprit. However, little is known about the regulation of SRB biofilm formation. Using Desulfovibrio vulgaris as a model SRB organism, we compared the transcriptomes of biofilm and planktonic cells and identified that the gene for σ54-dependent regulator DVU2956 is repressed in biofilms. Utilizing a novel promoter that is primarily transcribed in biofilms (Pdvu0304), we found production of DVU2956 inhibits biofilm formation by 70%. Corroborating this result, deleting dvu2956 increased biofilm formation, and this biofilm phenotype could be complemented. By producing proteins in biofilms from genes controlled by DVU2956 (dvu2960 and dvu2962), biofilm formation was inhibited almost completely. A second round of RNA-seq for the production of DVU2956 revealed DVU2956 influences electron transport via an Hmc complex (high-molecular-weight cytochrome c encoded by dvu0531–dvu0536) and the Fe-only hydrogenase (encoded by dvu1769, hydA and dvu1770, hydB) to control H2S production. Corroborating these results, producing DVU2956 in biofilms decreased H2S production by half, deleting dvu2956 increased H2S production by 131 ± 5%, and producing DVU2956 in the dvu2956 strain reduced H2S production. Therefore, DVU2956 maintains SRB in the planktonic state and reduces H2S formation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics