This paper reviews the involvement of bacterial cell death and lysis in staphylococcus biofilm development.
Previously it was found that mutations on either cidABC or lrgAB operons, known to be involved in cells death and lysis, results in impaired biofilm formation.
It is thought that these 2 operons encode proteins analogous to the bacteriophage-encoded holins and antiholins.
Holins (encoded by cidABC) would be responsible for bacteria cell lysis, and anti-holins (encoded by lrgAB), as the name indicates, for the inhibition of the produced holins creating, therefore, a balance between life and death.
Given the nature of the signals known to induce expression of the Cid/Lrg system, they propose that the expression of these operons are dependent on a variety of environmental conditions that exist within a biofilm, and that the metabolic variability observed within biofilms may determines the differential expression these operons through, for example, membrane potential and oxygen levels, which in turn, dictates which cells die and lyse.
This is an interesting review that explores a yet poorly understood issue of biofilm maturation and te mechanisms underlying such complex regulation.
Reference of the article summarized above:
RM: AF 1313