The formation of biofilms is initiated by bacteria transitioning from the planktonic to the surface-associated mode of growth. Several regulatory systems have been described to govern the initiation and subsequent formation of biofilms. Recent evidence suggests that regulatory networks governing the decision of bacteria whether to attach and form biofilms or remain as planktonic cells are further subject to regulation by small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs). This is accomplished by sRNAs fine-tuning regulatory networks to enable concentration-specific responses by sequestering, antagonizing, or activating regulatory proteins in response to environmental cues, or by directly affecting the synthesis of proteins promoting or disfavoring the formation of biofilms. This review gives an overview of the contribution of sRNAs in regulating the switch from the planktonic to the sessile bacterial lifestyle by highlighting how sRNAs converge with known regulatory systems required for biofilm formation.
Small RNAs and their role in biofilm formation.
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