Article open access publication

Dispersed cells represent a distinct stage in the transition from bacterial biofilm to planktonic lifestyles

Nature Communications, Springer Nature, ISSN 2041-1723

Volume 5, 1, 2014

DOI:10.1038/ncomms5462, Dimensions: pub.1052859150, PMID: 25042103,



  1. (1) National University of Singapore, grid.4280.e
  2. (2) Nanyang Technological University, grid.59025.3b
  3. (3) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  4. (4) UNSW Sydney, grid.1005.4


Bacteria assume distinct lifestyles during the planktonic and biofilm modes of growth. Increased levels of the intracellular messenger c-di-GMP determine the transition from planktonic to biofilm growth, while a reduction causes biofilm dispersal. It is generally assumed that cells dispersed from biofilms immediately go into the planktonic growth phase. Here we use single-nucleotide resolution transcriptomic analysis to show that the physiology of dispersed cells from Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms is highly different from those of planktonic and biofilm cells. In dispersed cells, the expression of the small regulatory RNAs RsmY and RsmZ is downregulated, whereas secretion genes are induced. Dispersed cells are highly virulent against macrophages and Caenorhabditis elegans compared with planktonic cells. In addition, they are highly sensitive towards iron stress, and the combination of a biofilm-dispersing agent, an iron chelator and tobramycin efficiently reduces the survival of the dispersed cells.


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2014: Unused

Research area: Medicine

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2014: Level 1

Research area: Medicine

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Times Cited: 139

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 19.62

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 7.06

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