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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Aug;62(3):339-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00820.x. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Pattern differentiation in co-culture biofilms formed by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark.

Erratum in

  • FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Aug;62(3). doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00849.x.
  • FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Oct;63(1):151.


Biofilm infections may not simply be the result of colonization by one bacterium, but rather the consequence of pathogenic contributions from several bacteria. Interspecies interactions of different organisms in mixed-species biofilms remain largely unexplained, but knowledge of these is very important for understanding of biofilm physiology and the treatment of biofilm-related infectious diseases. Here, we have investigated interactions of two of the major bacterial species of cystic fibrosis lung microbial communities -Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus- when grown in co-culture biofilms. By growing co-culture biofilms of S. aureus with P. aeruginosa mutants in a flow-chamber system and observing them using confocal laser scanning microscopy, we show that wild-type P. aeruginosa PAO1 facilitates S. aureus microcolony formation. In contrast, P. aeruginosa mucA and rpoN mutants do not facilitate S. aureus microcolony formation and tend to outcompete S. aureus in co-culture biofilms. Further investigations reveal that extracellular DNA (eDNA) plays an important role in S. aureus microcolony formation and that P. aeruginosa type IV pili are required for this process, probably through their ability to bind to eDNA. Furthermore, P. aeruginosa is able to protect S. aureus against Dictyostelium discoideum phagocytosis in co-culture biofilms.

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