Spatial transcriptomes within the Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm architecture

Yun Heacock-Kang, Zhenxin Sun, Jan Zarzycki-Siek, Ian A. McMillan, Michael H. Norris, Andrew P. Bluhm, Darlene Cabanas, Dawson Fogen, Hung Vo, Stuart P. Donachie, Bradley R. Borlee, Christopher D. Sibley, Shawn Lewenza, Michael J. Schurr, Herbert P. Schweizer, Tung T. Hoang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial cooperative associations and dynamics in biofilm microenvironments are of special interest in recent years. Knowledge of localized gene-expression and corresponding bacterial behaviors within the biofilm architecture at a global scale has been limited, due to a lack of robust technology to study limited number of cells in stratified layers of biofilms. With our recent pioneering developments in single bacterial cell transcriptomic analysis technology, we generated herein an unprecedented spatial transcriptome map of the mature in vitro Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm model, revealing contemporaneous yet altered bacterial behaviors at different layers within the biofilm architecture (i.e., surface, middle and interior of the biofilm). Many genes encoding unknown functions were highly expressed at the biofilm-solid interphase, exposing a critical gap in the knowledge of their activities that may be unique to this interior niche. Several genes of unknown functions are critical for biofilm formation. The in vivo importance of these unknown proteins was validated in invertebrate (fruit fly) and vertebrate (mouse) models. We envisage the future value of this report to the community, in aiding the further pathophysiological understanding of P. aeruginosa biofilms. Our approach will open doors to the study of bacterial functional genomics of different species in numerous settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)976-985
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec. 2017


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