Identification of cbio gene critical for biofilm formation by mrsa cfsa36 strain isolated from pediatric patient with cystic fibrosis

Ying Liu, Junshu Yang, Michelle Ji, James Phillips, Mark Wylam, Yinduo Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The colonization of Staphylococcus aureus, especially methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), has a detrimental effect on the respiratory care of pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In addition to being resistant to multiple antibiotics, S. aureus also has the ability to form biofilms, which makes the infection more difficult to treat and eradicate. In this study, we examined the ability of S. aureus strains isolated from pediatric patients with CF to form biofilms. We screened a transposon mutant library of MRSA and identified a putative cobalt transporter ATP binding domain (cbiO) that is required for biofilm formation. We discovered that deleting cbiO creating a cbiO null mutant in CFSa36 (an MRSA strain isolated from a patient with cystic fibrosis) significantly hinders the ability of CFSa36 to form biofilm. The complementation of cbiO restored the ability of the cbiO deletion mutant to generate biofilm. Interestingly, we revealed that incorporating extra copper ions to the chemically defined medium (CDM) complemented the function of cbiO for biofilm formation in a dose-dependent manner, while the addition of extra iron ions in CDM enhanced the effect of cbiO null mutation on biofilm formation. In addition, neither the addition of certain extra amounts of copper ions nor iron ions in CDM had an impact on bacterial growth. Taken together, our findings suggest that cbiO mediates biofilm formation by affecting the transportation of copper ions in the MRSA CFSa36 strain. This study provides new insights into the molecular basis of biofilm formation by S. aureus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1363
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Biofilm formation
  • CbiO
  • Copper ions
  • MRSA
  • Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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