Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses quorum sensing to regulate the expression of virulence factors. In static environments, spatial structures, such as biofilms, can increase the expression of these virulence factors. However, in natural settings, biofilms are exposed to physical forces that disrupt spatial structure, which may affect the expression of virulence factors regulated by quorum sensing. We show that periodically disturbing biofilms composed of P. aeruginosa using a physical force reduces the expression of quorum sensing-regulated virulence factors. At an intermediate disturbance frequency, the expression of virulence factors in the las, rhl, and pqs regulons is reduced. Mathematical modeling suggests that perturbation of the pqsR receptor is critical for this reduction. Removing the lasR receptor enhances the reduction in the expression of virulence factors as a result of disturbance. Our results allow identification of environments where virulence is reduced and implicate the lasR receptor as having a buffering role against disturbance.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Garcia-Dieguez, Laura; Gabriela Diaz-Tang; Estefania Marin Meneses; Vanessa Cruise; Ivana M. Barraza; Travis J.A. Craddock; and Robert P. Smith. 2023. "Periodically disturbing biofilms reduces expression of quorum sensing-regulated virulence factors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa." iScience 26, (6): 106843. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2023.106843.