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Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 21;5:5541. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6541.

Bacteria slingshot more on soft surfaces.

Author information

1
Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China.
2
Department of Chemical Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China.
3
1] Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China [2] Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China [3] CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China.

Abstract

Adaptive responses greatly improve the competitive capacities of bacteria in diverse environments. Here, we investigate whether bacteria can adapt to a microenvironment with distinctive softness by examining the type-IV pili (TFP)-mediated motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells on brush-like surfaces that are grafted with a layer of thermally sensitive polymer chains, where the softness of the brush-layer is tunable by applying a small temperature change (from 30 to 37 °C). We report that P. aeruginosa cells slingshot more on soft surfaces at a shear-thinning condition, which greatly facilitates their surface crawling by means of reducing energy dissipation. This adaptive response suggests that P. aeruginosa cells may be able to sense the local viscoelasticity and then deploy TFP to adapt to their physical surroundings.

PMID:
25412641
PMCID:
PMC4263163
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms6541
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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