[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen that causes severe nosocomial infections. The strain ATCC 19606(T) utilizes the siderophore acinetobactin to acquire iron under iron-limiting conditions encountered in the host. Accordingly, the genome of this strain has three tonB genes encoding proteins for energy transduction functions needed for active transport of nutrients, including iron, through the outer membrane. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that these tonB genes, which are present in the genome of all sequenced A. baumannii strains, were acquired from different sources. Two of these genes occur as tonBexbBexbD operons and one as a monocistronic copy, which are all actively transcribed in ATCC 19606(T). The ability of components of these TonB systems to complement the growth defect of Escherichia coli W3110 mutants KP1344 (tonB) and RA1051 (exbBD) under iron-chelated conditions further supports the role of these TonB systems in iron acquisition. Mutagenesis analysis of ATCC 19606(T) tonB1 and tonB2 supports this hypothesis: their inactivation results in growth defects in iron-chelated media, without affecting acinetobactin biosynthesis and production of the acinetobactin outer membrane receptor protein BauA. In vivo assays using Galleria mellonella show each TonB is involved but not essential for bacterial virulence in this infection model. Furthermore, we observed that TonB2 plays a role in the ability of bacteria to bind to fibronectin and adhere to A549 cells by uncharacterized mechanisms. Taken together, these results indicate that A. baumannii ATCC 19606(T) produces three independent TonB proteins, which appear to be providing the energy transducing functions needed for iron acquisition and cellular processes that plat a role in the virulence of this pathogen.
Infection and immunity 07/2013; · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vibrio anguillarum is a marine pathogen that causes vibriosis, a hemorrhagic septicemia in aquatic invertebrate as well as vertebrate animals. The siderophore anguibactin system is one of the most important virulence factors of this bacterium. Most of the anguibactin biosynthesis and transport genes are located in the 65-kb pJM1 virulence plasmid although some of them are found in the chromosome of this fish pathogen. Over 30 years of research unveiled the role numerous chromosomal and pJM1 genes play in the synthesis of anguibactin and the transport of cognate ferric complexes into the bacterial cell. Furthermore, these studies showed that pJM1-carrying strains might be originated from pJM1-less strains producing the chromosome-mediated siderophore vanchrobactin. Additionally, we recently identified a chromosome-mediated anguibactin system in V. harveyi suggesting the possible evolutional origin of the V. anguillarum anguibactin system. In this review, we present our current understanding of the mechanisms and evolution hypothesis of the anguibactin system that might have occurred in these pathogenic vibrios.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii causes a wide range of severe infections among compromised and injured patients worldwide. The relevance of these infections are, in part, due to the ability of this pathogen to sense and react to environmental and host stress signals, allowing it to persist and disseminate in medical settings and the human host. This review summarizes current knowledge on the roles that environmental and cellular stressors play in the ability of A. baumannii to resist nutrient deprivation, oxidative and nitrosative injury, and even the presence of the commonly used antiseptic ethanol, which could serve as a nutrient- and virulence-enhancing signal rather than just being a convenient disinfectant. Emerging experimental evidence supports the role of some of these responses in the pathogenesis of the infections A. baumannii causes in humans and its capacity to resist antibiotics and host response effectors.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many Vibrio anguillarum serotype O1 strains carry 65-kb pJM1-type plasmids harboring genes involved in siderophore anguibactin biosynthesis and transport. The anguibactin system is an essential factor for V. anguillarum to survive under iron-limiting conditions, and as a consequence, it is a very important virulence factor of this bacterium. Our comparative analysis of genomic data identified a cluster harboring homologs of anguibactin biosynthesis and transport genes in the chromosome of Vibrio harveyi. We have purified the putative anguibactin siderophore and demonstrated that it is indeed anguibactin by mass spectrometry and specific bioassays. Furthermore, we characterized two genes, angR and fatA, in this chromosome cluster that, respectively, participate in anguibactin biosynthesis and transport as determined by mutagenesis analysis. Furthermore, we found that the V. harveyi FatA protein is located in the outer membrane fractions as previously demonstrated in V. anguillarum. Based on our data, we propose that the anguibactin biosynthesis and transport cluster in the V. anguillarum pJM1 plasmid have likely evolved from the chromosome cluster of V. harveyi or vice versa.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously showed that the opportunistic nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii is able to sense and respond to light via BlsA, a BLUF (Blue-Light-sensing Using FAD)-domain photoreceptor protein. Here, we extend our previous studies showing that light regulation is not restricted to A. baumannii, but rather widespread within the genus Acinetobacter. First, we found that blue light modulates motility and biofilm formation in many species of the genus, including members of the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex. In many of these species blue light acts as a key factor guiding the decision between motility or sessility at 24°C, whereas in A. baumannii, light inhibits both motility and biofilm formation. We also show that light regulation of motility occurred not only at 24°C but also at 37°C in non-A. baumannii species, contrasting the situation of A. baumannii which only shows photoregulation at 24°C. Second, we show that Acinetobacter baylyi (strain ADP1) BLUF-photoreceptors can functionally replace in vivo the A. baumannii 17978 BlsA protein and that the pathways leading to biofilm formation are inversely regulated at 24°C between these two microorganisms. Finally, we found the presence of predicted genes coding BLUF-containing proteins in all Acinetobacter sequenced genomes, even though the copy number is variable among them. Phylogenetic analysis suggests a common origin for all BLUF domains present in members of this genus, and could distinguish well-differentiated clusters that group together BLUF homologs from different species, a situation particularly clear for members of the ACB complex. Despite a role played by these BLUF domain-containing proteins in the photoregulation observed in the members of the genus Acinetobacter is a likely scenario given our findings in A. baumannii and A. baylyi, further research will contribute to confirm this possibility.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e55059. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is a nosocomial bacterial pathogen, and infections attributed to this species are further complicated by a remarkable ability to acquire antimicrobial resistance genes and to survive in a desiccated state. While the antibiotic resistance and biofilm formation of A. baumannii is well-documented, less is known about the virulence attributes of this organism. Recent studies reported A. baumannii strains display a motility phenotype, which appears to be partially dependent upon Type IV pili, autoinducer molecules, and the response to blue light. In this study, we wanted to determine the prevalence of this trait in genetically diverse clinical isolates, and any additional required factors, and environmental cues that regulate motility. When strains are subjected to a wide array of stress conditions, A. baumannii motility is significantly reduced. In contrast, when extracellular iron is provided or salinity is reduced, motility is significantly enhanced. We further investigated whether the genes required for the production of lipopolysaccharide (lpsB) and K1 capsule (epsA/ptk) are required for motility as demonstrated in other Gram-negative bacteria. Transposon mutagenesis resulted in reduced motility by the insertion derivatives of each of these genes. The presence of the parental allele provided in trans, in the insertion mutant background, could only restore motility in the lpsB mutant. The production of core LPS directly contributes to the motility phenotype, while capsular polysaccharide may have an indirect effect. Further, the data suggest motility is regulated by extracellular conditions, indicating that A. baumannii is actively sensing the environment and responding accordingly.
The Journal of Microbiology 06/2012; 50(3):434-43. · 1.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To successfully establish an infection, Acinetobacter baumannii must overcome the iron starvation and oxidative stress imposed by the human host. Although previous studies have shown that ATCC 19606(T) cells acquire iron via the acinetobactin-mediated siderophore system, little is known about intracellular iron metabolism and its relation to oxidative stress in this pathogen. Screening of an insertion library resulted in the isolation of the ATCC 19606(T) derivative 1644, which was unable to grow in iron-chelated media. Rescue cloning and DNA sequencing showed that the insertion inactivated a gene coding for an NfuA Fe-S cluster protein ortholog, without any effect on the expression of the acinetobactin system. The nfuA mutant was also more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and cumene hydroperoxide than the parental strain. The iron chelation- and oxidative-stress-deficient responses of this mutant were corrected when complemented with either the ATCC 19606(T) parental allele or the Escherichia coli MG1655 nfuA ortholog. Furthermore, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) analyses showed that the ATCC 19606(T) NfuA ortholog has iron-binding properties compatible with the formation of [Fe-S] cluster protein. Ex vivo and in vivo assays using human epithelial cells and Galleria mellonella, respectively, showed that NfuA is critical for bacterial growth independent of their capacity to acquire iron or the presence of excess of free iron. Taken together, these observations indicate that the A. baumannii NfuA ortholog plays a role in intracellular iron utilization and protection from oxidative-stress responses that this pathogen could encounter during the infection of the human host.
Journal of bacteriology 03/2012; 194(11):2884-93. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes serious infections in immunocompromised patients, expresses high-affinity iron acquisition functions needed for growth under iron-limiting laboratory conditions. In this study, we determined that the initial interaction of the ATCC 19606(T) type strain with A549 human alveolar epithelial cells is independent of the production of BasD and BauA, proteins needed for acinetobactin biosynthesis and transport, respectively. In contrast, these proteins are required for this strain to persist within epithelial cells and cause their apoptotic death. Infection assays using Galleria mellonella larvae showed that impairment of acinetobactin biosynthesis and transport functions significantly reduces the ability of ATCC 19606(T) cells to persist and kill this host, a defect that was corrected by adding inorganic iron to the inocula. The results obtained with these ex vivo and in vivo approaches were validated using a mouse sepsis model, which showed that expression of the acinetobactin-mediated iron acquisition system is critical for ATCC 19606(T) to establish an infection and kill this vertebrate host. These observations demonstrate that the virulence of the ATCC 19606(T) strain depends on the expression of a fully active acinetobactin-mediated system. Interestingly, the three models also showed that impairment of BasD production results in an intermediate virulence phenotype compared to those of the parental strain and the BauA mutant. This observation suggests that acinetobactin intermediates or precursors play a virulence role, although their contribution to iron acquisition is less relevant than that of mature acinetobactin.
Infection and immunity 03/2012; 80(3):1015-24. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii causes severe infections in compromised patients, who present an iron-limited environment that controls bacterial growth. This pathogen has responded to this restriction by expressing high-affinity iron acquisition systems including that mediated by the siderophore acinetobactin. Gene cloning, functional assays and biochemical tests showed that the A. baumannii genome contains a single functional copy of an entA ortholog. This gene, which is essential for the biosynthesis of the acinetobactin precursor 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA), locates outside of the acinetobactin gene cluster, which otherwise harbors all genes needed for acinetobactin biosynthesis, export and transport. In silico analyses and genetic complementation tests showed that entA locates next to an entB ortholog, which codes for a putative protein that contains the isochorismatase lyase domain, which is needed for DHBA biosynthesis from isochorismic acid, but lacks the aryl carrier protein domain, which is needed for tethering activated DHBA and completion of siderophore biosynthesis. Thus, basF, which locates within the acinetobactin gene cluster, is the only fully functional entB ortholog present in ATCC 19606(T). The differences in amino acid length and sequences between these two EntB orthologs and the differences in the genetic context within which the entA and entB genes are found in different A. baumannii isolates indicate that they were acquired from different sources by horizontal transfer. Interestingly, the AYE strain proved to be a natural entA mutant capable of acquiring iron via an uncharacterized siderophore-mediated system, an observation that underlines the ability of different A. baumannii isolates to acquire iron using different systems. Finally, experimental infections using in vivo and ex vivo models demonstrate the role of DHBA and acinetobactin intermediates in the virulence of the ATCC 19606(T) cells, although to a lesser extent when compared to the responses obtained with bacteria producing and using fully matured acinetobactin to acquire iron.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36493. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii persists in the medical environment and causes severe human nosocomial infections. Previous studies showed that low-level ethanol exposure increases the virulence of A. baumannii ATCC 17978. To better understand the mechanisms involved in this response, 2-D gel electrophoresis combined with mass spectrometry was used to investigate differential protein production in bacteria cultured in the presence or absence of ethanol. This approach showed that the presence of ethanol significantly induces and represses the production of 22 and 12 proteins, respectively. Although over 25% of the ethanol-induced proteins were stress-response related, the overall bacterial viability was uncompromised when cultured under these conditions. Production of proteins involved in lipid and carbohydrate anabolism was increased in the presence of ethanol, a response that correlates with increased carbohydrate biofilm content, enhanced biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces and decrease bacterial motility on semi-solid surfaces. The presence of ethanol also induced the acidification of bacterial cultures and the production of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), a ubiquitous plant hormone that signals bacterial stress-tolerance and promotes plant-bacteria interactions. These responses could be responsible for the significantly enhanced virulence of A. baumannii ATCC 17978 cells cultured in the presence of ethanol when tested with the Galleria mellonella experimental infection model. Taken together, these observations provide new insights into the effect of ethanol in bacterial virulence. This alcohol predisposes the human host to infections by A. baumannii and could favor the survival and adaptation of this pathogen to medical settings and adverse host environments.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e51936. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We described previously the presence in Acinetobacter baumannii of a novel outer membrane (OM) protein, CarO, which functions as an L-ornithine OM channel and whose loss was concomitant with increased carbapenem resistance among clonally related nosocomial isolates of this opportunistic pathogen. Here, we describe the existence of extensive genetic diversity at the carO gene within the A. baumannii clinical population. The systematic analysis of carO sequences from A. baumannii isolates obtained from public hospitals in Argentina revealed the existence of four highly polymorphic carO variants among them. Sequence polymorphism between the different A. baumannii CarO variants was concentrated in three well-defined protein regions that superimposed mostly to predicted surface-exposed loops. Polymorphism among A. baumannii CarO variants was manifested in differential electrophoretic mobilities, antigenic properties, abilities to form stable oligomeric structures, and l-ornithine influx abilities through the A. baumannii OM under in vivo conditions. Incongruence between the phylogenies of the clinical A. baumannii isolates analyzed and those of the carO variants they harbor suggests the existence of assortative (entire-gene) carO recombinational exchange within the A. baumannii population. Exchange of carO variants possessing differential characteristics mediated by horizontal gene transfer may constitute an A. baumannii population strategy to survive radically changing environmental conditions, such as the leap from inanimate sources to human hosts and vice versa, persistence in a compromised host, and/or survival in health care facilities.
Journal of bacteriology 07/2011; 193(18):4736-48. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen that causes serious infections in humans by colonizing and persisting on surfaces normally found in hospital settings. The capacity of this pathogen to persist in these settings could be due to its ability to form biofilms on inanimate surfaces. This report shows that although the ATCC 19606(T) type strain and 8 different clinical isolates form biofilms, there are significant variations in the cell density and microscopic structures of these cell aggregates, with 3 of the isolates forming pellicles floating on the surface of stagnant broth cultures. PCR indicated that, like ATCC 19606(T), all 8 clinical isolates harbor all the genetic components of the CsuA/BABCDE chaperone-usher pili assembly system, which is needed for biofilm formation on plastic. Pili detection in cells of all strains examined supports the presence and function of a pilus assembly system. However, only one of them produced the putative ATCC 19606(T) CsuA/B pilin subunit protein. Hydrophobicity tests and motility assays also showed significant variations among all tested strains and did not result in direct correlations between the biofilm phenotype and cell properties that could affect biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces. This lack of correlation among these 3 phenotypes may reflect some of the variations already reported with this pathogen, which may pose a challenge in the treatment of the infections this pathogen causes in humans using biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces as a target.
The Journal of Microbiology 04/2011; 49(2):243-50. · 1.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Iron is an essential nutrient that plays a role in bacterial differential gene expression and protein production. Accordingly, the comparative analysis of total lysate and outer membrane fractions isolated from A. baumannii ATCC 19606(T) cells cultured under iron-rich and -chelated conditions using 2-D gel electrophoresis-mass spectrometry resulted in the identification of 58 protein spots differentially produced. While 19 and 35 of them represent iron-repressed and iron-induced protein spots, respectively, four other spots represent a metal chelation response unrelated to iron. Most of the iron-repressed protein spots represent outer membrane siderophore receptors, some of which could be involved in the utilization of siderophores produced by other bacteria. The iron-induced protein spots represent a wide range of proteins including those involved in iron storage, such as Bfr, metabolic and energy processes, such as AcnA, AcnB, GlyA, SdhA, and SodB, as well as lipid biosynthesis. The detection of an iron-regulated Hfq ortholog indicates that iron regulation in this bacterium could be mediated by Fur and small RNAs as described in other bacteria. The iron-induced production of OmpA suggests this protein plays a role in iron metabolism as shown by the diminished ability of an isogenic OmpA deficient derivative to grow under iron-chelated conditions.
Journal of proteomics 01/2011; 74(1):44-58. · 5.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Light is a ubiquitous environmental signal that many organisms sense and respond to by modulating their physiological responses accordingly. While this is an expected response among phototrophic microorganisms, the ability of chemotrophic prokaryotes to sense and react to light has become a puzzling and novel issue in bacterial physiology, particularly among bacterial pathogens. In this work, we show that the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii senses and responds to blue light. Motility and formation of biofilms and pellicles were observed only when bacterial cells were incubated in darkness. In contrast, the killing of Candida albicans filaments was enhanced when they were cocultured with bacteria under light. These bacterial responses depend on the expression of the A. baumannii ATCC 17978 A1S_2225 gene, which codes for an 18.6-kDa protein that contains an N-terminal blue-light-sensing-using flavin (BLUF) domain and lacks a detectable output domain(s). Spectral analyses of the purified recombinant protein showed its ability to sense light by a red shift upon illumination. Therefore, the A1S_2225 gene, which is present in several members of the Acinetobacter genus, was named blue-light-sensing A (blsA). Interestingly, temperature plays a role in the ability of A. baumannii to sense and respond to light via the BlsA photoreceptor protein.
Journal of bacteriology 10/2010; 192(24):6336-45. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of Acinetobacter baumannii to adhere to and persist on surfaces as biofilms could be central to its pathogenicity. The production of pili and a biofilm-associated protein and the expression of antibiotic resistance are needed for robust biofilm formation on abiotic and biotic surfaces. This multistep process also depends on the expression of transcriptional regulatory functions, some of which could sense nutrients available to cells. This report extends previous observations by showing that although outer membrane protein A (OmpA) of A. baumannii 19606 plays a partial role in the development of robust biofilms on plastic, it is essential for bacterial attachment to Candida albicans filaments and A549 human alveolar epithelial cells. In contrast to abiotic surfaces, the interaction with biotic surfaces is independent of the CsuA/BABCDE-mediated pili. The interaction of A. baumannii 19606 with fungal and epithelial cells also results in their apoptotic death, a response that depends on the direct contact of bacteria with these two types of eukaryotic cells. Furthermore, the bacterial adhesion phenotype correlates with the ability of bacteria to invade A549 epithelial cells. Interestingly, the killing activity of cell-free culture supernatants proved to be protease and temperature sensitive, suggesting that its cytotoxic activity is due to secreted proteins, some of which are different from OmpA.
Infection and immunity 06/2009; 77(8):3150-60. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative opportunistic nosocomial pathogen. This microorganism survives in hospital environments despite unfavorable conditions such as desiccation, nutrient starvation and antimicrobial treatments. It is hypothesized that its ability to persist in these environments, as well as its virulence, is a result of its capacity to form biofilms. A. baumannii forms biofilms on abiotic surfaces such as polystyrene and glass as well as biotic surfaces such as epithelial cells and fungal filaments. Pili assembly and production of the Bap surface-adhesion protein play a role in biofilm initiation and maturation after initial attachment to abiotic surfaces. Furthermore, the adhesion and biofilm phenotypes of some clinical isolates seem to be related to the presence of broad-spectrum antibiotic resistance. The regulation of the formation and development of these biofilms is as diverse as the surfaces on which this bacterium persists and as the cellular components that participate in this programmed multistep process. The regulatory processes associated with biofilm formation include sensing of bacterial cell density, the presence of different nutrients and the concentration of free cations available to bacterial cells. Some of these extracellular signals may be sensed by two-component regulatory systems such as BfmRS. This transcriptional regulatory system activates the expression of the usher-chaperone assembly system responsible for the production of pili, needed for cell attachment and biofilm formation on polystyrene surfaces. However, such a system is not required for biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces when cells are cultured in chemically defined media. Interestingly, the BfmRS system also controls cell morphology under particular culture conditions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is a gram-negative bacterium that causes serious infections in compromised patients. More recently, it has emerged as the causative agent of severe infections in military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. This pathogen grows under a wide range of conditions including iron-limiting conditions imposed by natural and synthetic iron chelators. Initial studies using the type strain 19606 showed that the iron proficiency of this pathogen depends on the expression of the acinetobactin-mediated iron acquisition system. More recently, we have observed that hemin but not human hemoglobin serves as an iron source when 19606 isogenic derivatives affected in acinetobactin transport and biosynthesis were cultured under iron-limiting conditions. This finding is in agreement with the observation that the genome of the strain 17978 has a gene cluster coding for putative hemin-acquisition functions, which include genes coding for putative hemin utilization functions and a TonBExbBD energy transducing system. This system restored enterobactin biosynthesis in an E. coli ExbBD deficient strain but not when introduced into a TonB mutant. PCR and Southern blot analyses showed that this hemin-utilization gene cluster is also present in the 19606 strain. Analysis of the 17978 genome also showed that this strain harbors genes required for acinetobactin synthesis and transport as well as a gene cluster that could code for additional iron acquisition functions. This hypothesis is in agreement with the fact that the inactivation of the basD acinetobactin biosynthetic gene did not affect the growth of A. baumannii 17978 cells under iron-chelated conditions. Interestingly, this second iron uptake gene cluster is flanked by perfect inverted repeats and includes transposase genes that are expressed transcriptionally. Also interesting is the observation that this additional cluster could not be detected in the type strain 19606, an observation that suggests some significant differences in the iron uptake capacity between these two A. baumannii strains. Transposome mutagenesis of the strain 19606 resulted in the isolation of a derivative unable to grow under iron-chelated conditions. Gene mapping and protein analysis together with complementation assays showed that a protein related to SecA, which is a component of the Sec protein secretion system in a wide range of bacteria, is needed at least for the production of the BauA acinetobactin outer membrane receptor. Furthermore, this derivative was unable to use hemin as an iron source under limiting conditions. Taken together, these results indicate that A. baumannii expresses siderophore-mediated and hemin acquisition functions, although different isolates differ in their iron acquisition capacity. Unexpectedly, the ability of this pathogen to acquire iron depends on the expression of a SecA protein secretion function, which has not been associated with iron acquisition in bacteria.
Biology of Metals 02/2009; 22(1):23-32. · 3.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii forms biofilms on abiotic surfaces, a phenotype that may explain its ability to survive in nosocomial environments and to cause device-related infections in compromised patients. The biofilm proficiency of the 19606 type strain depends on the production of pili, cell-surface appendages assembled via the CsuAB-A-B-C-D-E chaperone-usher secretion system. The screening of a bank of isogenic insertion derivatives led to the identification of a biofilm-deficient derivative in which a transposon insertion disrupted a gene predicted to encode the response regulator of a two-component regulatory system. This gene, which was named bfmR, is required for the expression of the Csu pili chaperone-usher assembly system. This coding region is followed by an ORF encoding a putative sensor kinase that was named bfmS, which plays a less relevant role in biofilm formation when cells are cultured in rich medium. Further examination showed that the bfmR mutant was capable of attaching to abiotic surfaces, although to levels significantly lower than those of the parental strain, when it was cultured in a chemically defined minimal medium. Additionally, the morphology of planktonic cells of this mutant, when grown in minimal medium, was drastically affected, while adherent mutant cells were indistinguishable in shape and size from the parental strain. Together, these results indicate that BfmR is part of a two-component regulatory system that plays an important role in the morphology of A. baumannii 19606 cells and their ability to form biofilms on abiotic surfaces.