Filaments in curved streamlines: Rapid formation of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm streamers.

TitleFilaments in curved streamlines: Rapid formation of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm streamers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKim MKevin, Drescher K, Pak OShun, Bassler BL, Stone HA
JournalNew J Phys
Date Published2014 Jun 26

Biofilms are surface-associated conglomerates of bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics. These bacterial communities can cause chronic infections in humans by colonizing, for example, medical implants, heart valves, or lungs. Staphylococcus aureus, a notorious human pathogen, causes some of the most common biofilm-related infections. Despite the clinical importance of S. aureus biofilms, it remains mostly unknown how physical effects, in particular flow, and surface structure influence biofilm dynamics. Here we use model microfluidic systems to investigate how environmental factors, such as surface geometry, surface chemistry, and fluid flow affect biofilm development in S. aureus. We discovered that S. aureus rapidly forms flow-induced, filamentous biofilm streamers, and furthermore if surfaces are coated with human blood plasma, streamers appear within minutes and clog the channels more rapidly than if the channels are uncoated. To understand how biofilm streamer filaments reorient in flows with curved streamlines to bridge the distances between corners, we developed a mathematical model based on resistive force theory of slender filaments. Understanding physical aspects of biofilm formation in S. aureus may lead to new approaches for interrupting biofilm formation of this pathogen.

Alternate JournalNew J Phys
PubMed ID25484614
PubMed Central IDPMC4255984
Grant ListR01 GM065859 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States