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Reference EntryDOI

Growing and analyzing static biofilms

01 Aug 2011-Current protocols in microbiology (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd)-Vol. 22, Iss: 1

AbstractMany bacteria can exist as surface-attached aggregations known as biofilms. Presented in this unit are several approaches for the study of these communities. The focus here is on static biofilm systems, which are particularly useful for examination of the early stages of biofilm formation, including initial adherence to the surface and microcolony formation. Furthermore, most of the techniques presented are easily adapted to the study of biofilms under a variety of conditions and are suitable for either small- or relatively large-scale studies. Unlike assays involving continuous-flow systems, the static biofilm assays described here require very little specialized equipment and are relatively simple to execute. In addition, these static biofilm systems allow analysis of biofilm formation with a variety of readouts, including microscopy of live cells, macroscopic visualization of stained bacteria, and viability counts. Used individually or in combination, these assays provide useful means for the study of biofilms.

Topics: Biofilm (53%)

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Journal ArticleDOI
29 Aug 2013-Cell
TL;DR: It is shown that an exponentially growing population of wild-type Escherichia coli cells produces rare cells that stochastically switch into slow growth, that the slow-growing cells are multidrug tolerant, and that they are able to resuscitate.
Abstract: SUMMARY Persistence refers to the phenomenon in which isogenic populations of antibiotic-sensitive bacteria produce rare cells that transiently become multidrug tolerant. Whether slow growth in a rare subset of cells underlies the persistence phenotype has not be examined in wild-type bacteria. Here, we show that an exponentially growing population of wildtype Escherichia coli cells produces rare cells that stochastically switch into slow growth, that the slow-growing cells are multidrug tolerant, and that they are able to resuscitate. The persistence phenotype depends hierarchically on the signaling nucleotide (p)ppGpp, Lon protease, inorganic polyphosphate, and toxin-antitoxins. We show that the level of (p)ppGpp varies stochastically in a population of exponentially growing cells and that the high (p)ppGpp level in rare cells induces slow growth and persistence. (p)ppGpp triggers slow growth by activating toxin-antitoxin loci through a regulatory cascade depending on inorganic polyphosphate and Lon protease.

431 citations


Cites methods from "Growing and analyzing static biofil..."

  • ...coli biofilms were grown as ‘‘colony biofilms’’ as described in Merritt et al. (2005). Biofilm persistence was measured by determining the number of CFUs/ml upon exposure to 1 mg/ml ciprofloxacin....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that expression of the pel gene cluster and PelF protein levels are enhanced during biofilm growth compared to liquid cultures, suggesting that Pel is capable of playing both a structural and a protective role in P. aeruginosa biofilms.
Abstract: Bacterial extracellular polysaccharides are a key constituent of the extracellular matrix material of biofilms. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a model organism for biofilm studies and produces three extracellular polysaccharides that have been implicated in biofilm development, alginate, Psl and Pel. Significant work has been conducted on the roles of alginate and Psl in biofilm development, however we know little regarding Pel. In this study, we demonstrate that Pel can serve two functions in biofilms. Using a novel assay involving optical tweezers, we demonstrate that Pel is crucial for maintaining cell-to-cell interactions in a PA14 biofilm, serving as a primary structural scaffold for the community. Deletion of pelB resulted in a severe biofilm deficiency. Interestingly, this effect is strain-specific. Loss of Pel production in the laboratory strain PAO1 resulted in no difference in attachment or biofilm development; instead Psl proved to be the primary structural polysaccharide for biofilm maturity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Pel plays a second role by enhancing resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics. This protection occurs only in biofilm populations. We show that expression of the pel gene cluster and PelF protein levels are enhanced during biofilm growth compared to liquid cultures. Thus, we propose that Pel is capable of playing both a structural and a protective role in P. aeruginosa biofilms.

391 citations


Cites methods from "Growing and analyzing static biofil..."

  • ...96-well microtiter dish experiments were performed as described previously [44]....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Current insights into biofilm physiology and pathology are reviewed, and how a deep insight into the physical and biological characteristics of biofilms can inform therapeutic strategies and molecular targets for the development of anti-biofilm drugs are discussed.
Abstract: Most of the research on bacterial pathogenesis has focused on acute infections, but much less is known about the pathogenesis of infections caused by bacteria that grow as aggregates in biofilms. These infections tend to be chronic as they resist innate and adaptive immune defence mechanisms as well as antibiotics, and the treatment of biofilm infections presents a considerable unmet clinical need. To date, there are no drugs that specifically target bacteria in biofilms; however, several approaches are in early-stage development. Here, we review current insights into biofilm physiology and pathology, and discuss how a deep insight into the physical and biological characteristics of biofilms can inform therapeutic strategies and molecular targets for the development of anti-biofilm drugs.

379 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that the various exopolysaccharides and eDNA interactively contribute to the biofilm architecture of P. aeruginosa.
Abstract: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen and has been established as a model organism to study bacterial biofilm formation. At least three exopolysaccharides (alginate, Psl, and Pel) contribute to the formation of biofilms in this organism. Here mutants deficient in the production of one or more of these polysaccharides were generated to investigate how these polymers interactively contribute to biofilm formation. Confocal laser scanning microscopy of biofilms formed in flow chambers showed that mutants deficient in alginate biosynthesis developed biofilms with a decreased proportion of viable cells than alginate-producing strains, indicating a role of alginate in viability of cells in biofilms. Alginate-deficient mutants showed enhanced extracellular DNA (eDNA)-containing surface structures impacting the biofilm architecture. PAO1 ΔpslA Δalg8 overproduced Pel, and eDNA showing meshwork-like structures presumably based on an interaction between both polymers were observed. The formation of characteristic mushroom-like structures required both Psl and alginate, whereas Pel appeared to play a role in biofilm cell density and/or the compactness of the biofilm. Mutants producing only alginate, i.e., mutants deficient in both Psl and Pel production, lost their ability to form biofilms. A lack of Psl enhanced the production of Pel, and the absence of Pel enhanced the production of alginate. The function of Psl in attachment was independent of alginate and Pel. A 30% decrease in Psl promoter activity in the alginate-overproducing MucA-negative mutant PDO300 suggested inverse regulation of both biosynthesis operons. Overall, this study demonstrated that the various exopolysaccharides and eDNA interactively contribute to the biofilm architecture of P. aeruginosa.

309 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A comprehensive analysis of the literature from a historic perspective commenting on the contribution of the different models and discussing future venues and new approaches that can be merged with more traditional techniques in order to model biofilm-infections and efficiently fight them is undertaken.
Abstract: The influence of microorganisms growing as sessile communities in a large number of human infections has been extensively studied and recognized for 30-40 years, therefore warranting intense scientific and medical research. Nonetheless, mimicking the biofilm-life style of bacteria and biofilm-related infections has been an arduous task. Models used to study biofilms range from simple in vitro to complex in vivo models of tissues or device-related infections. These different models have progressively contributed to the current knowledge of biofilm physiology within the host context. While far from a complete understanding of the multiple elements controlling the dynamic interactions between the host and biofilms, we are nowadays witnessing the emergence of promising preventive or curative strategies to fight biofilm-related infections. This review undertakes a comprehensive analysis of the literature from a historic perspective commenting on the contribution of the different models and discussing future venues and new approaches that can be merged with more traditional techniques in order to model biofilm-infections and efficiently fight them.

308 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The optical densities of stained bacterial films adherent to plastic tissue culture plates serve as a quantitative model for the study of the adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to medical devices, a process which may be important in the pathogenesis of foreign body infections.
Abstract: The adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to smooth surfaces was assayed by measuring the optical densities of stained bacterial films adherent to the floors of plastic tissue culture plates. The optical densities correlated with the weight of the adherent bacterial film (r = 0.906; P less than 0.01). The measurements also agreed with visual assessments of bacterial adherence to culture tubes, microtiter plates, and tissue culture plates. Selected clinical strains were passed through a mouse model for foreign body infections and a rat model for catheter-induced endocarditis. The adherence measurements of animal passed strains remained the same as those of the laboratory-maintained parent strain. Spectrophotometric classification of coagulase-negative staphylococci into nonadherent and adherent categories according to these measurements had a sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 90.6, 80.8, and 88.4%, respectively. We examined a previously described collection of 127 strains of coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from an outbreak of intravascular catheter-associated sepsis; strains associated with sepsis were more adherent than blood culture contaminants and cutaneous strains (P less than 0.001). We also examined a collection of 84 strains isolated from pediatric patients with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts; once again, pathogenic strains were more adherent than were CSF contaminants (P less than 0.01). Finally, we measured the adherence of seven endocarditis strains. As opposed to strains associated with intravascular catheters and CSF shunts, endocarditis strains were less adherent than were saprophytic strains of coagulase-negative staphylococci. The optical densities of bacterial films adherent to plastic tissue culture plates serve as a quantitative model for the study of the adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci to medical devices, a process which may be important in the pathogenesis of foreign body infections. Images

1,777 citations


"Growing and analyzing static biofil..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...While popularized in the mid-to-late 1990s (Mack et al., 1994; O’Toole et al., 1999), the assay in its typically used form is derived from a protocol published by Christensen et al. (1985)....

    [...]


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Results show that oxygen limitation and low metabolic activity in the interior of the biofilm, not poor antibiotic penetration, are correlated with antibiotic tolerance of this P. aeruginosa biofilm system.
Abstract: The roles of slow antibiotic penetration, oxygen limitation, and low metabolic activity in the tolerance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in biofilms to killing by antibiotics were investigated in vitro. Tobramycin and ciprofloxacin penetrated biofilms but failed to effectively kill the bacteria. Bacteria in colony biofilms survived prolonged exposure to either 10 μg of tobramycin ml−1or 1.0 μg of ciprofloxacin ml−1. After 100 h of antibiotic treatment, during which the colony biofilms were transferred to fresh antibiotic-containing plates every 24 h, the log reduction in viable cell numbers was only 0.49 ± 0.18 for tobramycin and 1.42 ± 0.03 for ciprofloxacin. Antibiotic permeation through colony biofilms, indicated by a diffusion cell bioassay, demonstrated that there was no acceleration in bacterial killing once the antibiotics penetrated the biofilms. These results suggested that limited antibiotic diffusion is not the primary protective mechanism for these biofilms. Transmission electron microscopic observations of antibiotic-affected cells showed lysed, vacuolated, and elongated cells exclusively near the air interface in antibiotic-treated biofilms, suggesting a role for oxygen limitation in protecting biofilm bacteria from antibiotics. To test this hypothesis, a microelectrode analysis was performed. The results demonstrated that oxygen penetrated 50 to 90 μm into the biofilm from the air interface. This oxic zone correlated to the region of the biofilm where an inducible green fluorescent protein was expressed, indicating that this was the active zone of bacterial metabolic activity. These results show that oxygen limitation and low metabolic activity in the interior of the biofilm, not poor antibiotic penetration, are correlated with antibiotic tolerance of this P. aeruginosa biofilm system.

816 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results suggest that some other resistance mechanism is involved for both agents and contributed to wild-type biofilm resistance to ampicillin but not to ciprofloxacin.
Abstract: The penetration of two antibiotics, ampicillin and ciprofloxacin, through biofilms developed in an in vitro model system was investigated. The susceptibilities of biofilms and corresponding freely suspended bacteria to killing by the antibiotics were also measured. Biofilms of Klebsiella pneumoniae were developed on microporous membranes resting on agar nutrient medium. The susceptibilities of planktonic cultures and biofilms to 10 times the MIC were determined. Antibiotic penetration through biofilms was measured by assaying the concentration of antibiotic that diffused through the biofilm to an overlying filter disk. Parallel experiments were performed with a mutant K. pneumoniae strain in which beta-lactamase activity was eliminated. For wild-type K. pneumoniae grown in suspension culture, ampicillin and ciprofloxacin MICs were 500 and 0.18 microgram/ml, respectively. The log reductions in the number of CFU of planktonic wild-type bacteria after 4 h of treatment at 10 times the MIC were 4.43 +/- 0.33 and 4.14 +/- 0.33 for ampicillin and ciprofloxacin, respectively. Biofilms of the same strain were much less susceptible, yielding log reductions in the number of CFU of -0.06 +/- 0.06 and 1.02 +/- 0.04 for ampicillin and ciprofloxacin, respectively, for the same treatment. The number of CFU in the biofilms after 24 h of antibiotic exposure was not statistically different from the number after 4 h of treatment. Ampicillin did not penetrate wild-type K. pneumoniae biofilms, whereas ciprofloxacin and a nonreactive tracer (chloride ion) penetrated the biofilms quickly. The concentration of ciprofloxacin reached the MIC throughout the biofilm within 20 min. Ampicillin penetrated biofilms formed by a beta-lactamase-deficient mutant. However, the biofilms formed by this mutant were resistant to ampicillin treatment, exhibiting a 0.18 +/- 0.07 log reduction in the number of CFU after 4 h of exposure and a 1.64 +/- 0.33 log reduction in the number of CFU after 24 h of exposure. Poor penetration contributed to wild-type biofilm resistance to ampicillin but not to ciprofloxacin. The increased resistance of the wild-type strain to ciprofloxacin and the mutant strain to ampicillin and ciprofloxacin could not be accounted for by antibiotic inactivation or slow diffusion since these antibiotics fully penetrated the biofilms. These results suggest that some other resistance mechanism is involved for both agents.

803 citations


"Growing and analyzing static biofil..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...Colony biofilms Colony biofilms (see Basic Protocol 3) have typically been used for the purpose of determining antibiotic resistance (Anderl et al., 2000; Walters et al., 2003)....

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Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: This article operationally defines a biofilm as bacteria that are attached to a surface in sufficient numbers to be detected macroscopically.
Abstract: Interest in the study of microbial biofilms has increased greatly in recent years due in large part to the profound impact biofilms have in clinical, industrial, and natural settings. Traditionally, the study of biofilms has been approached from an ecological or engineering perspective, using a combination of classical microbiology and advanced microscopy. We and others have begun to use genetic approaches to understand the development of these complex communities. To begin we must answer the question: What is a biofilm? This definition, by necessity, may be quite broad because it is clear that many organisms can attach to a variety of surfaces under diverse environmental conditions. Therefore, in the context of this article we will operationally define a biofilm as bacteria that are attached to a surface in sufficient numbers to be detected macroscopically.

770 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results demonstrate that the mutants were impaired in the accumulative phase of biofilm production by S. epidermidis by mediating intercellular adhesion.
Abstract: The primary attachment to polymer surfaces followed by accumulation in multilayered cell clusters leads to production of Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms, which are thought to contribute to virulence in biomaterial-related infections. We isolated Tn917 transposon mutants of biofilm-producing S. epidermidis 13-1, which were completely biofilm negative. In pulsed-field gel electrophoresis no obvious deletions of the mutants were noted. The Tn917 insertions of mutants M10 and M11 were located on different EcoRI fragments but on identical 60-kb SmaI and 17-kb BamHI chromosomal fragments. Linkage of transposon insertions of mutants M10 and M11 with the altered phenotype was demonstrated by phage transduction, whereas the several other mutants apparently represented spontaneous variants. In a primary attachment assay with polystyrene spheres, no significant difference between any of the mutants and the wild type could be detected. Cell clustering as an indication of intercellular adhesion, which is a prerequisite for accumulation in multilayered cell clusters, was not detected with any mutant. These results demonstrate that the mutants were impaired in the accumulative phase of biofilm production. Mutants M10 and M11 did not produce detectable amounts of a specific polysaccharide antigen (D. Mack, N. Siemssen, and R. Laufs, Infect. Immun. 60:2048-2057, 1992), whereas substantially reduced amounts of antigen were produced by the spontaneous variants. Hexosamine was determined as the major specific component of the antigen enriched by gel filtration of biofilm-producing S. epidermidis 1457 because almost no hexosamine was detected in material prepared from the isogenic biofilm-negative transductant 1457-M11, which differentiates the antigen from other S. epidermidis polysaccharide components. Our results provide direct genetic evidence for a function of the antigen in the accumulative phase of biofilm production by S. epidermidis by mediating intercellular adhesion.

332 citations


"Growing and analyzing static biofil..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...While popularized in the mid-to-late 1990s (Mack et al., 1994; O’Toole et al., 1999), the assay in its typically used form is derived from a protocol published by Christensen et al. (1985)....

    [...]