Flow-Induced Symmetry Breaking in Growing Bacterial Biofilms

Pearce, Philip and Song, Boya and Skinner, Dominic J. and Mok, Rachel and Hartmann, Raimo and Singh, Praveen K. and Jeckel, Hannah and Oishi, Jeffrey S. and Drescher, Knut and Dunkel, Jörn. (2019) Flow-Induced Symmetry Breaking in Growing Bacterial Biofilms. Physical Review Letters, 123 (25). p. 258101.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/83584/

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Bacterial biofilms represent a major form of microbial life on Earth and serve as a model active nematic system, in which activity results from growth of the rod-shaped bacterial cells. In their natural environments, ranging from human organs to industrial pipelines, biofilms have evolved to grow robustly under significant fluid shear. Despite intense practical and theoretical interest, it is unclear how strong fluid flow alters the local and global architectures of biofilms. Here, we combine highly time-resolved single-cell live imaging with 3D multiscale modeling to investigate the mechanisms by which flow affects the dynamics of all individual cells in growing biofilms. Our experiments and cell-based simulations reveal three quantitatively different growth phases in strong external flow and the transitions between them. In the initial stages of biofilm development, flow induces a downstream gradient in cell orientation, causing asymmetrical dropletlike biofilm shapes. In the later developmental stages, when the majority of cells are sheltered from the flow by the surrounding extracellular matrix, buckling-induced cell verticalization in the biofilm core restores radially symmetric biofilm growth, in agreement with predictions of a 3D continuum model.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Infection Biology > Microbiology and Biophysics (Drescher)
UniBasel Contributors:Drescher, Knut
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Physical Society
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:23 Jun 2021 12:52
Deposited On:23 Jun 2021 12:52

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