Non-motile subpopulations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa repress flagellar motility in motile cells through a type IV pili- and Pel-dependent mechanism [article]

Kimberley A. Lewis, Danielle M Vermilyea, Shanice S Webster, Jaime de Anda, Gerard Wong, George A O'Toole, Deborah A. Hogan
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
The downregulation of P. aeruginosa flagellar motility is a key event in biofilm formation, host-colonization, and the formation of microbial communities, but the external factors that repress motility are not well understood. Here, we report that under swarming conditions, motility can be repressed by cells that are non-motile due to the absence of a flagellum or flagellar rotation. Non-motile cells, due to mutations that prevent either flagellum biosynthesis or rotation, present at 5% of the
more » ... otal population suppressed swarming of wild-type cells under the conditions tested in this study. Non-motile cells required functional type IV pili and the ability to produce the Pel exopolysaccharide to suppress swarming by the motile wild type. In contrast, motile cells required only type IV pili, but not Pel production, in order for swarming to be repressed by non-motile cells. We hypothesize that interactions between motile and non-motile cells may enhance the formation of sessile communities including those involving multiple genotypes, phenotypically-diverse cells, and perhaps other species.
doi:10.1101/2021.10.21.465385 fatcat:sec63cfc2fgprliz4yn4b6u2rm