The influence of biofilms in the biology of plasmids

Laura C.C. Cook, Gary M. Dunny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The field of plasmid biology has historically focused on bacteria growing in liquid culture. Surface-attached communities of bacterial biofilms have recently been understood to be the normal environment of bacteria in the natural world. Thus, studies examining plasmid replication, maintenance, and transfer in biofilms are essential for a true understanding of bacterial plasmid biology. This article reviews the current knowledge of the interplay between bacterial biofilms and plasmids, focusing on the role of plasmids in biofilm development and the role of biofilms in plasmid maintenance, copy-number control, and transfer. The studies examined herein highlight the importance of biofilms as an important ecological niche in which bacterial plasmids play an essential role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberPLAS-0012-2013
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our biofilm and plasmid research was supported by NIH grants 1RO1AI58134 and 1RO1GM49530. L.C.C. was a predoctoral trainee under T32GM008347 from NIGMS (2007-2009), and received a fellowship from the American Academy of University Women (2010-2011).

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