Distinct types of multicellular aggregates in Pseudomonas aeruginosa liquid cultures

Gavin Melaugh*, Vincent Martinez, Perrin Baker, Preston Hill, P. Lynne Howell, Daniel J. Wozniak, R. J. Allen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pseudomonas aeruginosa forms suspended multicellular aggregates when
cultured in liquid media. These aggregates may be important in disease,
and/or as a pathway to biofilm formation. The polysaccharide Psl and
extracellular DNA (eDNA) have both been implicated in aggregation,
but previous results depend strongly on the experimental conditions.
Here we develop a quantitative microscopy-based method for assessing changes in the size distribution of suspended aggregates over time in growing cultures. For exponentially growing cultures of P. aeruginosa PAO1, we find that aggregation is mediated by cell-associated Psl, rather than by either eDNA or secreted Psl. These aggregates arise de novo within the culture via a growth process that involves both collisions and clonal growth, and Psl non-producing cells do not aggregate with producers. In contrast, we find that stationary phase
(overnight) cultures contain a different type of multicelullar aggregate, in which both eDNA and Psl mediate cohesion. Our findings suggest that the physical and biological properties of multicellular aggregates may be very different in early-stage vs late-stage bacterial cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Pages (from-to)1-52
Number of pages52
JournalNPJ Biofilms Microbiomes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Biofilms
  • DNA
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial/metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa


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