Controlled spatial organization of bacterial growth reveals key role of cell filamentation preceding Xylella fastidiosa biofilm formation

Silambarasan Anbumani, Aldeliane M. da Silva, Isis G.B. Carvalho, Eduarda Regina Fischer, Mariana de Souza e Silva, Antonio Augusto G. von Zuben, Hernandes F. Carvalho, Alessandra A. de Souza, Richard Janissen, Monica A. Cotta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The morphological plasticity of bacteria to form filamentous cells commonly represents an adaptive strategy induced by stresses. In contrast, for diverse human and plant pathogens, filamentous cells have been recently observed during biofilm formation, but their functions and triggering mechanisms remain unclear. To experimentally identify the underlying function and hypothesized cell communication triggers of such cell morphogenesis, spatially controlled cell patterning is pivotal. Here, we demonstrate highly selective cell adhesion of the biofilm-forming phytopathogen Xylella fastidiosa to gold-patterned SiO2 substrates with well-defined geometries and dimensions. The consequent control of both cell density and distances between cell clusters demonstrated that filamentous cell formation depends on cell cluster density, and their ability to interconnect neighboring cell clusters is distance-dependent. This process allows the creation of large interconnected cell clusters that form the structural framework for macroscale biofilms. The addition of diffusible signaling molecules from supernatant extracts provides evidence that cell filamentation is induced by quorum sensing. These findings and our innovative platform could facilitate therapeutic developments targeting biofilm formation mechanisms of X. fastidiosa and other pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Number of pages12
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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