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ACS Nano. 2011 Mar 22;5(3):1865-76. doi: 10.1021/nn102692m. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Impact of nanoscale topography on genomics and proteomics of adherent bacteria.

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  • 1Italian Institute of Technology, Center for Bio-Molecular Nanotechnology, Via Barsanti-73010 Arnesano, Lecce, Italy.


Bacterial adhesion onto inorganic/nanoengineered surfaces is a key issue in biotechnology and medicine, because it is one of the first necessary steps to determine a general pathogenic event. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of bacteria-surface interaction represents a milestone for planning a new generation of devices with unanimously certified antibacterial characteristics. Here, we show how highly controlled nanostructured substrates impact the bacterial behavior in terms of morphological, genomic, and proteomic response. We observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) that type-1 fimbriae typically disappear in Escherichia coli adherent onto nanostructured substrates, as opposed to bacteria onto reference glass or flat gold surfaces. A genetic variation of the fimbrial operon regulation was consistently identified by real time qPCR in bacteria interacting with the nanorough substrates. To gain a deeper insight into the molecular basis of the interaction mechanisms, we explored the entire proteomic profile of E. coli by 2D-DIGE, finding significant changes in the bacteria adherent onto the nanorough substrates, such as regulations of proteins involved in stress processes and defense mechanisms. We thus demonstrated that a pure physical stimulus, that is, a nanoscale variation of surface topography, may play per se a significant role in determining the morphological, genetic, and proteomic profile of bacteria. These data suggest that in depth investigations of the molecular processes of microorganisms adhering to surfaces are of great importance for the design of innovative biomaterials with active biological functionalities.

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