Nolan, L.M., Cavaliere, R., Turnbull, L. & Whitchurch, C.B. 2015, 'Extracellular ATP inhibits twitching motility-mediated biofilm expansion by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.', BMC Microbiology, vol. 15, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that exploits damaged epithelia to cause infection. Type IV pili (tfp) are polarly located filamentous structures which are the major adhesins for attachment of P. aeruginosa to epithelial cells. The extension and retraction of tfp powers a mode of surface translocation termed twitching motility that is involved in biofilm development and also mediates the active expansion of biofilms across surfaces. Extracellular adenosine triphosphate (eATP) is a key "danger" signalling molecule that is released by damaged epithelial cells to alert the immune system to the potential presence of pathogens. As P. aeruginosa has a propensity for infecting damaged epithelial tissues we have explored the influence of eATP on tfp biogenesis and twitching motility-mediated biofilm expansion by P. aeruginosa.In this study we have found that eATP inhibits P. aeruginosa twitching motility-mediated expansion of interstitial biofilms at levels that are not inhibitory to growth. We have determined that eATP does not inhibit expression of the tfp major subunit, PilA, but reduces the levels of surface assembled tfp. We have also determined that the active twitching zone of expanding P. aeruginosa interstitial biofilms contain large quantities of eATP which may serve as a signalling molecule to co-ordinate cell movements in the expanding biofilm. The inhibition of twitching motility-mediated interstitial biofilm expansion requires eATP hydrolysis and does not appear to be mediated by the Chp chemosensory system.Endogenous eATP produced by P. aeruginosa serves as a signalling molecule to co-ordinate complex multicellular behaviours of this pathogen. Given the propensity for P. aeruginosa to infect damaged epithelial tissues, our observations suggest that eATP released by damaged cells may provide a cue to reduce twitching motility of P. aeruginosa in order to establish infection at the site of damage. Furthermore, eATP produced by P. aerugino...
Gloag, E.S., Turnbull, L., Huang, A., Vallotton, P., Wang, H., Nolan, L.M., Mililli, L., Hunt, C., Lu, J., Osvath, S.R., Monahan, L.G., Cavaliere, R., Charles, I.G., Wand, M., Gee, M., Ranganathan, P. & Whitchurch, C.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, vol. 110, no. 28, pp. 11541-11546.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
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
Nolan, L.M., Croft, L., Jones, P.M., George, A.M., Turnbull, L. & Whitchurch, C.B. 2012, 'Extragenic suppressor mutations that restore twitching motility to fimL mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa are associated with elevated intracellular cyclic AMP levels', Microbiology Open, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 490-501.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a signaling molecule that is involved in the regulation of multiple virulence systems of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The intracellular concentration of cAMP in P. aeruginosa cells is tightly controlled at the levels of cAMP synthesis and degradation through regulation of the activity and/or expression of the adenylate cyclases CyaA and CyaB or the cAMP phosphodiesterase CpdA. Interestingly, mutants of fimL, which usually demonstrate defective twitching motility, frequently revert to a wild-type twitching-motility phenotype presumably via the acquisition of an extragenic suppressor mutation(s). In this study, we have characterized five independent fimL twitching-motility revertants and have determined that all have increased intracellular cAMP levels compared with the parent fimL mutant. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that only one of these fimL revertants has acquired a loss-of-function mutation in cpdA that accounts for the elevated levels of intracellular cAMP. As mutation of cpdA did not account for the restoration of twitching motility observed in the other four fimL revertants, these observations suggest that there is at least another, as yet unidentified, site of extragenic suppressor mutation that can cause phenotypic reversion in fimL mutants and modulation of intracellular cAMP levels of P. aeruginosa.