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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01908

Discovery and therapeutic targeting of differentiated biofilm subpopulations

  • 1Texas Tech University, United States

The association of microorganisms into biofilms produces functionally organized microbial structures that promote community survival in a wide range of environments. Much like when individual cells within a multicellular organism express different genes from the same DNA blueprint, individual microbial cells located within different regions of a biofilm structure can exhibit distinct genetic programs. These spatially-defined regions of physiologically-differentiated cells are reminiscent of the role of tissues in multicellular organisms, with specific subpopulations in the microbial community serving defined roles to promote the overall health of the biofilm. The functions of these subpopulations are quite diverse and can range from dormant cells that can withstand antibiotic onslaughts to cells actively producing extracellular polymeric substances providing integrity to the entire community. The purpose of this review is to discuss the diverse roles of subpopulations in the stability and function of clonal biofilms, the methods for studying these subpopulations, and the ways these subpopulations can potentially be exploited for therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: Biofilm, heterogeneity, Infectious Disease, Technology, antibiotic resistance, Subpopulations, Therapeutic targeting

Received: 09 Jun 2019; Accepted: 05 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Reviewed by:

Maria Hadjifrangiskou, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, United States
Ken Bayles, University of Nebraska Medical Center, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Bisht and Wakeman. 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(s) 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. Catherine A. Wakeman, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 79409, Texas, United States, catherine.wakeman@ttu.edu