Involvement of motility and flagella in Bacillus cereus biofilm formation

  • Houry A
  • Briandet R
  • Aymerlch S
 et al. 
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Bacillus cereus is a food-borne pathogen and a frequent contaminant of food production plants. The persistence of this pathogen in various environments results from the formation of spores and of biofilms. To investigate the role of the B. cereus flagellar apparatus in biofilm formation, we constructed a non-flagellated mutant and a flagellated but non-motile mutant. Unexpectedly, we found that the presence of flagella decreased the adhesion of the bacterium to glass surfaces. We hypothesize that this decrease is a consequence of the flagella hindering a direct interaction between the bacterial cell wall and the surface. In contrast, in specific conditions, motility promotes biofilm formation. Our results suggest that motility could influence biofilm formation by three mechanisms. Motility is necessary for the bacteria to reach surfaces suitable for biofilm formation. In static conditions, reaching the air–liquid interface, where the biofilm forms, is a strong requirement, whereas in flow cells bacteria can have access to the bottom glass slide by sedimentation. Therefore, motility is important for biofilm formation in glass tubes and in microtitre plates, but not in flow cells. Motility also promotes recruitment of planktonic cells within the biofilm by allowing motile bacteria to invade the whole biofilm. Finally, motility is involved in the spreading of the biofilm on glass surfaces.

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  • A. Houry

  • R. Briandet

  • S. Aymerlch

  • M. Gohar

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