Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Social Cooperativity of Bacteria during Reversible Surface Attachment in Young Biofilms: a Quantitative Comparison of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 and PAO1


What are bacteria doing during "reversible attachment," the period of transient surface attachment when they initially engage a surface, besides attaching themselves to the surface? Can an attaching cell help any other cell attach? If so, does it help all cells or employ a more selective strategy to help either nearby cells (spatial neighbors) or its progeny (temporal neighbors)? Using community tracking methods at the single-cell resolution, we suggest answers to these questions based on how reversible attachment progresses during surface sensing for Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains PAO1 and PA14. Although PAO1 and PA14 exhibit similar trends of surface cell population increase, they show unanticipated differences when cells are considered at the lineage level and interpreted using the quantitative framework of an exactly solvable stochastic model. Reversible attachment comprises two regimes of behavior, processive and nonprocessive, corresponding to whether cells of the lineage stay on the surface long enough to divide, or not, before detaching. Stark differences between PAO1 and PA14 in the processive regime of reversible attachment suggest the existence of two surface colonization strategies. PAO1 lineages commit quickly to a surface compared to PA14 lineages, with early c-di-GMP-mediated exopolysaccharide (EPS) production that can facilitate the attachment of neighbors. PA14 lineages modulate their motility via cyclic AMP (cAMP) and retain memory of the surface so that their progeny are primed for improved subsequent surface attachment. Based on the findings of previous studies, we propose that the differences between PAO1 and PA14 are potentially rooted in downstream differences between Wsp-based and Pil-Chp-based surface-sensing systems, respectively.IMPORTANCE The initial pivotal phase of bacterial biofilm formation known as reversible attachment, where cells undergo a period of transient surface attachment, is at once universal and poorly understood. What is more, although we know that reversible attachment culminates ultimately in irreversible attachment, it is not clear how reversible attachment progresses phenotypically, as bacterial surface-sensing circuits fundamentally alter cellular behavior. We analyze diverse observed bacterial behavior one family at a time (defined as a full lineage of cells related to one another by division) using a unifying stochastic model and show that our findings lead to insights on the time evolution of reversible attachment and the social cooperative dimension of surface attachment in PAO1 and PA14 strains.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View