Influence of type-I fimbriae and fluid shear stress on bacterial behavior and multicellular architecture of early Escherichia coli biofilms at single-cell resolution

Liyun Wang, Robert Keatch, Qi Zhao (Lead / Corresponding author), John A. Wright, Clare E. Bryant, Anna L. Redmann, Eugene M. Terentjev (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    Biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces in food and medical industry can cause severe contamination and infection, yet how biological and physical factors determine cellular architecture of early biofilms and bacterial behavior of the constituent cells remains largely unknown. In this study we examine the specific role of type-I fimbriae in nascent stages of biofilm formation and the response of micro-colonies to environmental flow shear at single-cell resolution. The results show that type-I fimbriae are not required for reversible adhesion from plankton, but critical for irreversible adhesion of Escherichia coli (E.coli) MG1655 forming biofilms on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) surfaces. Besides establishing a firm cell-surface contact, the irreversible adhesion seems necessary to initiate the proliferation of E.coli on the surface. After application of shear stress, bacterial retention is dominated by the 3D architecture of colonies independent of the population and the multi-layered structure could protect the embedded cells from being insulted by fluid shear, while cell membrane permeability mainly depends on the biofilm population and the duration time of the shear stress.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere02343-17
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number6
    Early online date12 Jan 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


    • Early biofilms
    • Fluid shear stress
    • Irreversible adhesion
    • Type I fimbriae


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