Dynamics and control of biofilms of the oligotrophic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus.

TitleDynamics and control of biofilms of the oligotrophic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsEntcheva-Dimitrov, P, Spormann AM
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Date Published2004 Dec
KeywordsBacterial Adhesion, Biofilms, Caulobacter crescentus, Culture Media, Fimbriae, Bacterial, Flagella, Fresh Water, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Microscopy, Confocal, Mutation
AbstractCaulobacter crescentus is an oligotrophic alpha-proteobacterium with a complex cell cycle involving sessile-stalked and piliated, flagellated swarmer cells. Because the natural lifestyle of C. crescentus intrinsically involves a surface-associated, sessile state, we investigated the dynamics and control of C. crescentus biofilms developing on glass surfaces in a hydrodynamic system. In contrast to biofilms of the well-studied Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Vibrio cholerae, C. crescentus CB15 cells form biphasic biofilms, consisting predominantly of a cell monolayer biofilm and a biofilm containing densely packed, mushroom-shaped structures. Based on comparisons between the C. crescentus strain CB15 wild type and its holdfast (hfsA; DeltaCC0095), pili (DeltapilA-cpaF::Omegaaac3), motility (motA), flagellum (flgH) mutants, and a double mutant lacking holdfast and flagellum (hfsA; flgH), a model for biofilm formation in C. crescentus is proposed. For both biofilm forms, the holdfast structure at the tip of a stalked cell is crucial for mediating the initial attachment. Swimming motility by means of the single polar flagellum enhances initial attachment and enables progeny swarmer cells to escape from the monolayer biofilm. The flagellum structure also contributes to maintaining the mushroom structure. Type IV pili enhance but are not absolutely required for the initial adhesion phase. However, pili are essential for forming and maintaining the well-defined three-dimensional mushroom-shaped biofilm. The involvement of pili in mushroom architecture is a novel function for type IV pili in C. crescentus. These unique biofilm features demonstrate a spatial diversification of the C. crescentus population into a sessile, "stem cell"-like subpopulation (monolayer biofilm), which generates progeny cells capable of exploring the aqueous, oligotrophic environment by swimming motility and a subpopulation accumulating in large mushroom structures.
Alternate JournalJ. Bacteriol.
0 November 24, 2010