Characterization of Biofilm Formation by the Bioleaching Acidophilic Bacterium Acidithiobacillus Ferrooxidans by a Microarray Transcriptome Analysis
Bioleaching is the extraction of metals, such as copper or gold, from ore by microorganisms. Bacterial attachment increases leaching activities due to the formation of a "reaction space" between the metal sulfide surface and the cell. This process depends on abiotic characteristics such as purity and degree of crystallization of the metal sulfide, as well as biotic ones such as the capacity of the bacteria for detecting favourable attachment sites and synthesizing a suitable cell envelope (EPS), for adhesion. Planktonic and sessile cells should differ significantly in their metabolic activities and therefore in their gene expression patterns. To help to understand At. ferrooxidans biofilm formation, microarray transcript profiling was carried out to compare planktonic and sessile cells. The high contents of EPS and ferric iron of the biofilms are interfering with RNA extraction, causing inhibition of DNAse, reverse transcriptase and/or polymerase activities required to get labelled target cDNA. In order to have sufficient high quality RNA suitable for transcriptomic analysis, we have optimized the biofilm formation of At. ferrooxidans on pyrite (FeS2) and the RNA extraction from the sessile cell population. DNA microarrays have been hybridized with labelled cDNAs from sessile and planktonic cells and preliminary data suggest that some genes are differently expressed between these two subpopulations. The understanding of these differences may help us to shift populations of leaching bacteria from the planktonic state towards the sessile state in order to influence bioleaching.
Edgardo R. Donati, Marisa R. Viera, Eduardo L. Tavani, María A. Giaveno, Teresa L. Lavalle, Patricia A. Chiacchiarini
M. A. Vera et al., "Characterization of Biofilm Formation by the Bioleaching Acidophilic Bacterium Acidithiobacillus Ferrooxidans by a Microarray Transcriptome Analysis", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 71-73, pp. 175-178, 2009