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In situ evidence for microdomains in the polymer matrix of bacterial microcolonies

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Confocal laser scanning microscopy and fluorescent lectin-binding analyses (FLBA) were used to study the form, arrangement, and composition of exopolymeric substances (EPS) surrounding naturally occurring microcolonies in biofilms. FLBA, using multiple lectin staining and multichannel imaging, indicated that the EPS of many microcolonies exhibit distinct multiple binding regions. A common pattern in the microcolonies is a three zone arrangement with cell-associated, intercellular, and an outer layer of EPS covering the exterior of the colony. Differential binding of lectins suggests that there are differences in the glycoconjugate composition or their arrangement in the EPS of microcolonies. The combination of FLBA with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) indicates that the colonies consist of the major groups, α- and -Proteobacteria. It is suggested that the EPS arrangement observed provides a physical structuring mechanism that can segregate extracellular activities at the microscale.

La microscopie à balayage confocal au laser et des analyses de liaison de lectines fluorescentes (FLBA) ont été utilisés pour étudier la forme, l’arrangement et la composition des substances exopolymères (EPS) entourant les micro-colonies naturelles de biofilms. Les FLBA spécifiques à plusieurs lectines et l’imagerie multi-canal ont indiqué que plusieurs micro-colonies possédaient des régions distinctes à multiples substances polymériques extracellulaires (EPS). Un patron commun aux micro-colonies consistait en un arrangement en trois zones d’EPS associées aux cellules, intercellulaires et organisées en couche externe couvrant l’extérieur de la colonie. La liaison différentielle des lectines a suggéré l’existence de différences dans la composition en glycoconjugués ou dans leur arrangement au sein des EPS des micro-colonies. La combinaison du FLBA et l’hybridation in situ fluorescente (FISH) ont indiqué que les colonies étaient formées des groupes majeurs des α et  protéobactéries. Il semble que l’arrangement des EPS observé fournisse un mécanisme structurel qui pourrait permettre de différencier des activités extracellulaires à très petite échelle.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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