Exploring early steps in biofilm formation : set-up of an experimental system for molecular studies

01 Dec 2014

BACKGROUND: Bacterial biofilms are predominant in natural ecosystems and constitute a public health threat because of their outstanding resistance to antibacterial treatments and especially to antibiotics. To date, several systems have been developed to grow bacterial biofilms in order to study their phenotypes and the physiology of sessile cells. Although relevant, such systems permit analysis of various aspects of the biofilm state but often after several hours of bacterial growth. RESULTS: Here we describe a simple and easy-to-use system for growing P. aeruginosa biofilm based on the medium adsorption onto glass wool fibers. This approach which promotes bacterial contact onto the support, makes it possible to obtain in a few minutes a large population of sessile bacteria. Using this growth system, we demonstrated the feasibility of exploring the early stages of biofilm formation by separating by electrophoresis proteins extracted directly from immobilized cells. Moreover, the involvement of protein synthesis in P. aeruginosa attachment is demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: Our system provides sufficient sessile biomass to perform biochemical and proteomic analyses from the early incubation period, thus paving the way for the molecular analysis of the early stages of colonization that were inaccessible to date.