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Volume 47, Number 4, August 2014

The sensor kinase BfmS mediates virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii 

Ming-Li Liou, Po-Chi Soo, Siao-Ru Ling, Han-Yueh Kuo, Chuan Yi Tang, Kai-Chih Chang

Received: October 9, 2012    Revised: November 15, 2012    Accepted: November 17, 2012   


Corresponding author:

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Biotechnology, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan
Corresponding Author InformationCorresponding author. 701, Section 3, Chung-Yang Road, Hualien City 970, Taiwan. 


Background and purpose: 

BfmR, the response regulator component of the two-component system BfmRS, has important roles in biofilm formation and cellular morphology of Acinetobacter baumannii. Until now, the contribution of the sensor kinase BfmS to the virulence of this bacterium remains unknown. In this study, a bfmS knockout and complementation studies were performed to clarify the role of BfmS in A. baumannii virulence. 



We constructed a bfmS knockout mutant in the A. baumannii 17978 type strain by transposon inactivation. To clarify the role of bfmS in A. baumannii virulence, the biofilm formation, adherence ability to eukaryotic cells, serum resistance, and antibiotic susceptibility tests were performed in A. baumannii 17978 and its derivative knockout and complementation strains. 



The bfmS knockout displayed a reduction in biofilm formation, loss of adherence to eukaryotic cells, and greater sensitivity to serum killing compared with the parent strain. Proteomic analysis of culture supernatants revealed that the release of outer membrane proteins (Omps), including CarO and outer membrane protein A (OmpA), was associated with the inactivation of BfmS in A. baumannii. 



This study is the first to demonstrate that the pathway regulated by the sensor kinase BfmS is associated with biofilm formation, adherence to biotic surfaces, serum resistance, and antibiotic susceptibility, which may be associated with the release of Omps in A. baumannii. 


Key words:

Acinetobacter baumannii, BfmS, Virulence