As a stage of life cycle, larval settlement and metamorphosis are critical processes for persistence of many marine invertebrate populations. Bacterial biofilms (BFs) could induce larval settlement and metamorphosis. Pseudoalteromonas, a widely distributed genus of marine bacteria, showed inductive effects on several invertebrates. However, how Pseudoalteromonas BFs induce settlement and metamorphosis of Mytilus coruscus remains unclear. Pseudoalteromonas marina BFs with the highest inducing activity were further investigated to define inductive cues. Surface-bound products of P. marina BFs could induce larval settlement and metamorphosis. P. marina BFs treated with formalin, antibiotics, ultraviolet irradiation, heat and ethanol significantly reduced inductive effects and cell survival rates. The confocal laser scanning microscopy and the biovolume analysis showed the dominance of α-polysaccharides on P. marina BFs. Treatment of BFs with amylases, proteases and lipase led to the decrease of inducing activity, suggesting that inductive cues of P. marina BFs may comprise of molecular domains of polysaccharides, proteins, and lipids. Finding inductive cues of BFs could put forward further studies about the mechanism of larval settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrates.
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