How to build a biofilm: a fungal perspective. Curr Opin Microbiol 9:588-594
Biofilms are differentiated masses of microbes that form on surfaces and are surrounded by an extracellular matrix. Fungal biofilms, especially those of the pathogen Candida albicans, are a cause of infections associated with medical devices. Such infections are particularly serious because biofilm cells are relatively resistant to many common antifungal agents. Several in vitro models have been used to elucidate the developmental stages and processes required for C. albicans biofilm formation, and recent studies have begun to define biofilm genetic control. It is clear that cell-substrate and cell-cell interactions, hyphal differentiation and extracellular matrix production are key steps in biofilm development. Drug resistance is acquired early in biofilm formation, and appears to be governed by different mechanisms in early and late biofilms. Quorum sensing might be an important factor in dispersal of biofilm cells. The past two years have seen the emergence of several genomic strategies to uncover global events in biofilm formation and directed studies to understand more specific events, such as hyphal formation, in the biofilm setting.
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