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Quorum sensing triggers the stochastic escape of individual cells from Pseudomonas putida biofilms


Cárcamo-Oyarce, Gerardo; Lumjiaktase, Putthapoom; Kümmerli, Rolf; Eberl, Leo (2015). Quorum sensing triggers the stochastic escape of individual cells from Pseudomonas putida biofilms. Nature Communications, 6:5945.

Abstract

The term ‘quorum sensing’ (QS) is generally used to describe the phenomenon that bacteria release and perceive signal molecules to coordinate cooperative behaviour in response to their population size. QS-based communication has therefore been considered a social trait. Here we show that QS signals (N-acyl-homoserine lactones, AHLs) are stochastically produced in young biofilms of Pseudomonas putida and act mainly as self-regulatory signals rather than inducing neighbouring cells. We demonstrate that QS induces the expression of putisolvin biosurfactants that are not public goods, thereby triggering asocial motility of induced cells out of microcolonies. Phenotypic heterogeneity is most prominent in the early stages of biofilm development, whereas at later stages behaviour patterns across cells become more synchronized. Our findings broaden our perspective on QS by showing that AHLs can control the expression of asocial (self-directed) traits, and that heterogeneity in QS can serve as a mechanism to drive phenotypic heterogeneity in self-directed behaviour.

Abstract

The term ‘quorum sensing’ (QS) is generally used to describe the phenomenon that bacteria release and perceive signal molecules to coordinate cooperative behaviour in response to their population size. QS-based communication has therefore been considered a social trait. Here we show that QS signals (N-acyl-homoserine lactones, AHLs) are stochastically produced in young biofilms of Pseudomonas putida and act mainly as self-regulatory signals rather than inducing neighbouring cells. We demonstrate that QS induces the expression of putisolvin biosurfactants that are not public goods, thereby triggering asocial motility of induced cells out of microcolonies. Phenotypic heterogeneity is most prominent in the early stages of biofilm development, whereas at later stages behaviour patterns across cells become more synchronized. Our findings broaden our perspective on QS by showing that AHLs can control the expression of asocial (self-directed) traits, and that heterogeneity in QS can serve as a mechanism to drive phenotypic heterogeneity in self-directed behaviour.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:06 Jan 2016 08:10
Last Modified:17 Aug 2016 06:57
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, CONICYT Bicentennial Becas-Chile Scholarship
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6945
PubMed ID:25592773

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