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Cell. 2017 Jan 12;168(1-2):200-209.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.12.014. Epub 2017 Jan 12.

Species-Independent Attraction to Biofilms through Electrical Signaling.

Author information

1
Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
2
Department of Physics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
3
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5101, USA.
4
BioCircuits Institute, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; San Diego Center for Systems Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
5
Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; BioCircuits Institute, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; San Diego Center for Systems Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA; Center for Microbiome Innovation, Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. Electronic address: gsuel@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

Bacteria residing within biofilm communities can coordinate their behavior through cell-to-cell signaling. However, it remains unclear if these signals can also influence the behavior of distant cells that are not part of the community. Using a microfluidic approach, we find that potassium ion channel-mediated electrical signaling generated by a Bacillus subtilis biofilm can attract distant cells. Integration of experiments and mathematical modeling indicates that extracellular potassium emitted from the biofilm alters the membrane potential of distant cells, thereby directing their motility. This electrically mediated attraction appears to be a generic mechanism that enables cross-species interactions, as Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells also become attracted to the electrical signal released by the B. subtilis biofilm. Cells within a biofilm community can thus not only coordinate their own behavior but also influence the behavior of diverse bacteria at a distance through long-range electrical signaling. PAPERCLIP.

KEYWORDS:

bacterial communities; biofilm; electrical signaling; ion channel; long-range signaling; membrane potential; motility; multispecies; single cell trajectories; tumbling frequency

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PMID:
28086091
PMCID:
PMC5497501
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2016.12.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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