Near-surface bacterial motility during biofilm formation

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 3:15pm
Reiss 502
Jacinta C. Conrad
Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Houston

Up to 99% of bacteria live in biofilms, which are multicellular surface-bound communities of bacteria enclosed in a protective extracellular matrix. Biofilms impart additional resistance to environmental stresses, and are implicated in lethal infections and catastrophic implant failure in the human body, and industrial and marine biofouling. To control biofilm formation, the specific mechanisms by which bacteria attach to and move on surfaces at initial adhesion must be identified. In this seminar, I will describe high-throughput techniques for quantifying single-cell bacterial surface motility during the initial stages of biofilm formation based on particle-tracking techniques from colloid science. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a model organism for biofilm formation, synergistic interactions between motility mechanisms driven by distinct motility appendages influence cell attachment, division, and detachment. These experiments provide fundamental new insight into single-cell motility on surfaces in the initial stages of biofilm formation that can be used to guide the design of improved antifouling coatings and surfaces.

Host: Daniel Blair
Discussion Leader: Daniel Blair