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  1. The cell morphology of rod-shaped bacteria is determined by the rigid net of peptidoglycan forming the cell wall. Alterations to the rod shape, such as the curved rod, occur through manipulating the process of cell wall synthesis. The human pathogenVibrio choleraetypically exists as a curved rod, but straight rods have been observed under certain conditions. While this appears to be a regulated process, the regulatory pathways controlling cell shape transitions inV. choleraeand the benefits of switching between rod and curved shape have not been determined. We demonstrate that cell shape inV. choleraeis regulated by the bacterial second messenger cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) by posttranscriptionally repressing expression ofcrvA, a gene encoding an intermediate filament-like protein necessary for curvature formation inV. cholerae.This regulation is mediated by the transcriptional cascade that also induces production of biofilm matrix components, indicating that cell shape is coregulated withV. cholerae’s induction of sessility. During microcolony formation, wild-typeV. choleraecells tended to exist as straight rods, while genetically engineering cells to maintain high curvature reduced microcolony formation and biofilm density. Conversely, straightV. choleraemutants have reduced swimming speed when using flagellar motility in liquid. Our results demonstrate regulation of cell shape in bacteria is a mechanism to increase fitnessmore »in planktonic and biofilm lifestyles.

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  2. Cellular differentiation is a fundamental strategy used by cells to generate specialized functions at specific stages of development. The bacteriumCaulobacter crescentusemploys a specialized dimorphic life cycle consisting of two differentiated cell types. How environmental cues, including mechanical inputs such as contact with a surface, regulate this cell cycle remain unclear. Here, we find that surface sensing by the physical perturbation of retracting extracellular pilus filaments accelerates cell-cycle progression and cellular differentiation. We show that physical obstruction of dynamic pilus activity by chemical perturbation or by a mutation in the outer-membrane pilus secretin CpaC stimulates early initiation of chromosome replication. In addition, we find that surface contact stimulates cell-cycle progression by demonstrating that surface-stimulated cells initiate early chromosome replication to the same extent as planktonic cells with obstructed pilus activity. Finally, we show that obstruction of pilus retraction stimulates the synthesis of the cell-cycle regulator cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP) through changes in the activity and localization of two key regulatory histidine kinases that control cell fate and differentiation. Together, these results demonstrate that surface contact and sensing by alterations in pilus activity stimulateC. crescentusto bypass its developmentally programmed temporal delay in cell differentiation to more quickly adapt to a surface-associated lifestyle.

  3. Abstract Objectives

    To assess the ability of oxyclozanide to enhance tobramycin killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms and elucidate its mechanism of action.


    Twenty-four hour biofilms formed by the P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 and cystic fibrosis (CF) isolates were tested for susceptibility to oxyclozanide and tobramycin killing using BacTiter-Glo™ and cfu. Biofilm dispersal was measured using crystal violet staining. Membrane potential and permeabilization were quantified using DiOC2(3) and TO-PRO-3, respectively.


    Here we show that the ionophore anthelmintic oxyclozanide, combined with tobramycin, significantly increased killing of P. aeruginosa biofilms over each treatment alone. This combination also significantly accelerated the killing of cells within biofilms and stationary phase cultures and it was effective against 4/6 CF clinical isolates tested, including a tobramycin-resistant strain. Oxyclozanide enhanced the ability of additional aminoglycosides and tetracycline to kill P. aeruginosa biofilms. Finally, oxyclozanide permeabilized cells within the biofilm, reduced the membrane potential and increased tobramycin accumulation within cells of mature P. aeruginosa biofilms.


    Oxyclozanide enhances aminoglycoside and tetracycline activity against P. aeruginosa biofilms by reducing membrane potential, permeabilizing cells and enhancing tobramycin accumulation within biofilms. We propose that oxyclozanide counteracts the adaptive resistance response of P. aeruginosa to aminoglycosides, increasing both their maximum activity and rate of killing.more »As oxyclozanide is widely used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of parasitic worm infections, this combination could offer a new approach for the treatment of biofilm-based P. aeruginosa infections, repurposing oxyclozanide as an anti-biofilm agent.

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