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Arch Microbiol. 2006 Jun;185(6):417-27. Epub 2006 Apr 26.

Cell aggregation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 as an energy-dependent stress response during growth with sodium dodecyl sulfate.

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Fachbereich für Biologie, Mikrobielle Okologie, Universität Konstanz, Fach M 654, 78457, Konstanz, Germany.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 grew with the detergent sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). The growth started with the formation of macroscopic cell aggregates which consisted of respiring cells embedded in an extracellular matrix composed of acidic polysaccharides and DNA. Damaged and uncultivable cells accumulated in these aggregates compared to those cells that remained suspended. We investigated the response of suspended cells to SDS under different conditions. At high energy supply, the cells responded with a decrease in optical density and in viable counts, release of protein and DNA, and formation of macroscopic aggregates. This response was not observed if the energy supply was reduced by inhibiting respiration with KCN, or if cells not induced for SDS degradation were exposed to SDS. Exposure to SDS caused cell lysis without aggregation if cells were completely deprived of energy, either by applying anoxic conditions, by addition of CCCP, or by addition of KCN to a mutant defective in cyanide-insensitive respiration. Aggregated cells showed a more than 100-fold higher survival rate after exposure to SDS plus CCCP than suspended cells. Our results demonstrate that cell aggregation is an energy-dependent response of P. aeruginosa to detergent stress which might serve as a survival strategy during growth with SDS.

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