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Together we stand: bacteria organize to survive hostile zones
Date:11/13/2007

odels validated their experimental results and could predict the behavior of other bacterial species under similar pressures. We were surprised to find that cells growing in chambers of all sorts of shapes gradually organized themselves into highly regular structures, Levchenko said. The computational model helped explain why this was happening and how it might be used by the cells to increase chances of survival.

The microfluidic device, which was designed and fabricated in collaboration with Alex Groismans laboratory at UCSD, allows the cells to flow freely into and out of the chambers. Test volumes in the chambers were in the nano-liter range, allowing visualization of single E. coli cells. Ann Stevens laboratory at Virginia Tech helped to generate new strains of bacteria that permitted visualization of individual cells grown in a single layer.

Hojung Cho, a Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering doctoral student from Levchenkos lab and lead author of the journal article, captured on video the gradual self-organization and eventual construction of bacterial biofilms over a 24-hour period, using real-time microscopy techniques. The experiments were matched to modeling analysis developed in collaboration with Chos colleagues at Lund. Images were analyzed using tools developed with the participation of Bruno Jedynak of the Johns Hopkins Center for Imaging Science.

Observation using microscopy revealed that the longer the packed cell population resided in the chambers, the more ordered the biofilm structure became, Levchenko said. Being highly packed in a tiny space can be very challenging for cells, so that any type of a strategy to help colony survival can be very important, he adds.

Levchenko also noted that rod-shaped E. coli that were too short or too long typically either did not organize well or did not avoid stampede-like blockages toward the exits. The shape of the confining space also strongly affected the cell organiz
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Contact: Mary Spiro
mspiro@jhu.edu
410-516-4802
Johns Hopkins University  
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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