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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00590

Collective vortex-like movement of Bacillus subtilis facilitates the generation of floating biofilms

Nitai Steinberg1, Gili Rosenberg1, Alona Keren-Paz1 and  Ilana Kolodkin-Gal1*
  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Bacteria in nature are usually found in complex multicellular structures, called biofilms. One common form of a biofilm is pellicle - a floating mat of bacteria formed in the water-air interphase. So far, our knowledge on the basic mechanisms underlying the formation of biofilms at air-liquid interfaces is not complete. In particular, the co-occurrence of motile cells and extracellular matrix producers has not been studied. In addition, the potential involvement of chemical communication in pellicle formation remained largely undefined. Our results indicate that vortex-like collective motility by aggregates of motile cells and EPS producers accelerate the formation of floating biofilms. Successful aggregation and migration to the water-air interphase depend on the chemical communication signal autoinducer 2 (AI-2). This ability of bacteria to form a biofilm in a preferable niche ahead of their potential rivals would provide a fitness advantage in the context of inter-species competition

Keywords: Pellicles, Biofilms, collective behavior, cell-cell communication, Flagellar motility

Received: 16 Oct 2017; Accepted: 14 Mar 2018.

Edited by:

Dimitris G. Hatzinikolaou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Reviewed by:

Alexandra Lianou, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece
Manuel Simões, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Arianna Pompilio, Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Steinberg, Rosenberg, Keren-Paz and Kolodkin-Gal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Molecular Genetics, Rehovot, Israel,