Characterization of a mucoid-like Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm

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Bauer, Brandon M.
Rogers, Lewis
Macias, Monique
Iacovetti, Gabriella
Woodrow, Alexander M.
Labonte-Wilson, Melissa J.
Tallman, Kathleen G.
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type IV pili
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms are implicated in chronic infections. A key element of P. aeruginosa pathogenicity is the formation of a biofilm, a community of bacteria encased in an exopolymeric substance (EPS) that shields the bacteria from the host immune response and antibiotic treatment. A crucial step in biofilm production is a switch in motility from freely swimming, planktonic bacteria to twitching movement and then to attached and sedentary bacteria that develop into a mature pillar-shaped biofilm. A mucoid biofilm produces an excess of alginate and is clinically the most pathogenic and the most resistant to antibiotics. Biofilms from patients exhibit a wide variety of structure, motility, and levels of attachment. In vitro biofilms do not exhibit such a wide variety of structure and physiology. The difference between in vivo and in vitro biofilms has made the translation of in vitro studies into in vivo treatments difficult. Under different growth conditions in our lab, the P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 demonstrates two phenotypes: a non-mucoid and a mucoid-like phenotype. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) indicates the mucoid-like phenotype is intermediate in height to the non-mucoid phenotype and biofilms formed in a once-flow-through chamber. Both mucoid-like and non-mucoid phenotypes exhibit a significant increase in twitching between 24 and 72 hours of development. The mucoid-like phenotype had greater attachment at 72 hours compared to non-mucoid phenotype. Therefore, the two phenotypes observed in our lab may represent the effect of environment to stimulate development of two types of biofilms by PAO1.