The consequences of the boundary conditions (signal reflecting vs. signal adsorbing) on bacterial intercellular communication were addressed by a combined physics and microbiology approach. A predictive biophysical model was devised that considered system size, diffusion from given points, signal molecule decay and boundary properties. The theoretical predictions were tested with two experimental agarose-gel-based set-ups for reflecting or absorbing boundaries. N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) concentration profiles were measured using the Agrobacterium tumefaciens NTL4 bioassay and found to agree with model predictions. The half-life of AHL was estimated to be 7 days. The absorbing vs. reflecting nature of the boundaries drastically changed AHL concentration profiles. The effect of a single nonreflecting boundary side was equivalent to a 100-fold lower cell concentration. Results suggest that the kinetics of signal accumulation vs. signal removal and their threshold-mediated phenotypic consequences are directly linked to the properties of biofilm boundaries, stressing the relevance of the diffusion sensing component in bacterial communication.

Quorum vs. diffusion sensing: a quantitative analysis of the relevance of absorbing or reflecting boundaries

TROVATO, ANTONIO;SENO, FLAVIO;ZANARDO, MARINA;ALBERGHINI, SARA;TONDELLO, ALESSANDRA;SQUARTINI, ANDREA
2014

Abstract

The consequences of the boundary conditions (signal reflecting vs. signal adsorbing) on bacterial intercellular communication were addressed by a combined physics and microbiology approach. A predictive biophysical model was devised that considered system size, diffusion from given points, signal molecule decay and boundary properties. The theoretical predictions were tested with two experimental agarose-gel-based set-ups for reflecting or absorbing boundaries. N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) concentration profiles were measured using the Agrobacterium tumefaciens NTL4 bioassay and found to agree with model predictions. The half-life of AHL was estimated to be 7 days. The absorbing vs. reflecting nature of the boundaries drastically changed AHL concentration profiles. The effect of a single nonreflecting boundary side was equivalent to a 100-fold lower cell concentration. Results suggest that the kinetics of signal accumulation vs. signal removal and their threshold-mediated phenotypic consequences are directly linked to the properties of biofilm boundaries, stressing the relevance of the diffusion sensing component in bacterial communication.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2795693
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