Proteomic regulation during Legionella pneumophila biofilm development: decrease of virulence factors and enhancement of response to oxidative stress

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Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila) is a Gram-negative bacterium, which can be found worldwide in aquatic environments. It tends to persist because it is often protected within biofilms or amoebae. L. pneumophila biofilms have a major impact on water systems, making the understanding of the bacterial physiological adaptation in biofilms a fundamental step towards their eradication. In this study, we report for the first time the influence of the biofilm mode of growth on the proteome of L. pneumophila. We compared the protein patterns of microorganisms grown as suspensions, cultured as colonies on agar plates or recovered with biofilms formed on stainless steel coupons. Statistical analyses of the protein expression data set confirmed the biofilm phenotype specificity which had been previously observed. It also identified dozens of proteins whose abundance was modified in biofilms. Proteins corresponding to virulence factors (macrophage infectivity potentiator protein, secreted proteases) were largely repressed in adherent cells. In contrast, a peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein (Lpg2043) and a peroxynitrite reductase (Lpg2965) were accumulated by biofilm cells. Remarkably, hypothetical proteins, that appear to be unique to the Legionella genus (Lpg0563, Lpg1111 and Lpg1809), were over-expressed by sessile bacteria.

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