Reassessing the role of the Escherichia coli CpxAR system in sensing surface contact
For proper biofilm formation, bacteria must have mechanisms in place to sense adhesion to surfaces. In Escherichia coli, the CpxAR and RcsCDB systems have been reported to sense surfaces. The CpxAR system is widely considered to be responsible for sensing attachment, specifically to hydrophobic surfaces. Here, using both single-cell and population-level analyses, we confirm RcsCDB activation upon surface contact, but find that the CpxAR system is not activated, in contrast to what had earlier been reported. Thus, the role of CpxAR in surface sensing and initiation of biofilm formation should be reconsidered.