University of Dundee

Molecular analysis of Bacillus subtilis biofilms

Biofilms are complex multicellular communities of bacteria that are involved in both chronic infection and beneficial processes. The project proposed here will investigate how the biofilm formed by the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis is constructed.  B.subtilis biofilms are waterproof because the cells make a ‘raincoat’ to protect them.  We are looking for a talented student to join our lab and to study biofilm matrix assembly using a combination of biochemistry, microbial genetics and biophysics. Understanding the molecular process of biofilm matrix assembly is critical to the development of novel methodologies to disrupt biofilms.

Relevant publications:

Hobley, L.$, Ostrowski, A.$, Rao, F. $, Bromley, K., Porter, M., Prescott, A., MacPhee, C.E., van Aalten, D.M.F., Stanley-Wall, N.R. 2013 “A bacterial hydrophobin coats the Bacillus subtilis biofilm” Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences USA vol. 110(33) pp.13600-5 doi:10.1073/pnas.1306390110 $ These authors contributed equally.

Cairns, L.S., Marlow, V. L., Bissett, E., Ostrowski, A., and Stanley-Wall, N.R. 2013 “A mechanical signal transmitted by the flagellum controls signaling in Bacillus subtilisMolecular Microbiology vol. 90 (1) pp 6-21 doi: 10.1111/mmi.12342