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Nanopillared Surfaces Disrupt Pseudomonas aeruginosa Mechanoresponsive Upstream Motility


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic, multidrug-resistant, human pathogen that forms biofilms in environments with fluid flow, such as the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, industrial pipelines, and medical devices. P. aeruginosa twitches upstream on surfaces by the cyclic extension and retraction of its mechanoresponsive type IV pili motility appendages. The prevention of upstream motility, host invasion, and infectious biofilm formation in fluid flow systems remains an unmet challenge. Here, we describe the design and application of scalable nanopillared surface structures fabricated using nanoimprint lithography that reduce upstream motility and colonization by P. aeruginosa. We used flow channels to induce shear stress typically found in catheter tubes and microscopy analysis to investigate the impact of nanopillared surfaces with different packing fractions on upstream motility trajectory, displacement, velocity, and surface attachment. We found that densely packed, subcellular nanopillared surfaces, with pillar periodicities ranging from 200 to 600 nm and widths ranging from 70 to 215 nm, inhibit the mechanoresponsive upstream motility and surface attachment. This bacteria-nanostructured surface interface effect allows us to tailor surfaces with specific nanopillared geometries for disrupting cell motility and attachment in fluid flow systems.

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