Self-organization of bacterial biofilms is facilitated by extracellular DNA

Gloag, Erin S., Turnbull, Lynne, Huang, Alan, Vallotton, Pascal, Wang, Huabin, Nolan, Laura M., Mililli, Lisa, Hunt, Cameron, Lu, Jing, Osvath, Sarah R., Monahan, Leigh G., Cavaliere, Rosalia, Charles, Ian G., Wand, Matt P., Gee, Michael L., Prabhakar, Ranganathan and Whitchurch, Cynthia B. (2013) Self-organization of bacterial biofilms is facilitated by extracellular DNA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 28: 11541-11546. doi:10.1073/pnas.1218898110

Author Gloag, Erin S.
Turnbull, Lynne
Huang, Alan
Vallotton, Pascal
Wang, Huabin
Nolan, Laura M.
Mililli, Lisa
Hunt, Cameron
Lu, Jing
Osvath, Sarah R.
Monahan, Leigh G.
Cavaliere, Rosalia
Charles, Ian G.
Wand, Matt P.
Gee, Michael L.
Prabhakar, Ranganathan
Whitchurch, Cynthia B.
Title Self-organization of bacterial biofilms is facilitated by extracellular DNA
Journal name Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
Publication date 2013-07-09
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1218898110
Open Access Status
Volume 110
Issue 28
Start page 11541
End page 11546
Total pages 6
Place of publication Washington, DC United States
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject 1000 General
Formatted abstract
Twitching motility-mediated biofilm expansion is a complex, multicellular behavior that enables the active colonization of surfaces by many species of bacteria. In this study we have explored the emergence of intricate network patterns of interconnected trails that form in actively expanding biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We have used high-resolution, phase-contrast time-lapse microscopy and developed sophisticated computer vision algorithms to track and analyze individual cell movements during expansion of P. aeruginosa biofilms. We have also used atomic force microscopy to examine the topography of the substrate underneath the expanding biofilm. Our analyses reveal that at the leading edge of the biofilm, highly coherent groups of bacteria migrate across the surface of the semisolid media and in doing so create furrows along which following cells preferentially migrate. This leads to the emergence of a network of trails that guide mass transit toward the leading edges of the biofilm. We have also determined that extracellular DNA (eDNA) facilitates efficient traffic flow throughout the furrow network by maintaining coherent cell alignments, thereby avoiding traffic jams and ensuring an efficient supply of cells to the migrating front. Our analyses reveal that eDNA also coordinates the movements of cells in the leading edge vanguard rafts and is required for the assembly of cells into the “bulldozer” aggregates that forge the interconnecting furrows. Our observations have revealed that large-scale self-organization of cells in actively expanding biofilms of P. aeruginosa occurs through construction of an intricate network of furrows that is facilitated by eDNA. 
Keyword Collective behavior
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 64 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 60 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 20 Mar 2014, 16:56:59 EST by Kay Mackie on behalf of Mathematics