Extracellular DNA (eDNA). A major ubiquitous element of the bacterial biofilm architecture

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After the first ancient studies on microbial slime (the name by which the biofilm matrix was initially indicated), multitudes of studies on the morphology, composition and physiology of biofilms have arisen. The emergence of the role that biofilms play in the pathogenesis of recalcitrant and persistent clinical infections, such as periprosthetic orthopedic infections, has reinforced scientific interest. Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is a recently uncovered component that is proving to be almost omnipresent in the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) of biofilm. This macromolecule is eliciting unprecedented consideration for the critical impact on the pathogenesis of chronic clinical infections. After a systematic review of the literature, an updated description of eDNA in biofilms is presented, with a special focus on the latest findings regarding its fundamental structural role and the contribution it makes to the complex architecture of bacterial biofilms through interactions with a variety of other molecular components of the biofilm matrix.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 23 2021


  • extracellular DNA
  • eDNA
  • biofilm matrix
  • extracellular polymeric substance
  • EPS
  • DNA‐binding proteins
  • orthopedic implant infections


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