Bacterial Communication in Complex Geometry and Flow
Minyoung Kevin Kim (graduate student), Bonnie L. Bassler (faculty), and Howard A. Stone (faculty)
Department of Chemistry
Bacteria use a chemical communication process known as quorum sensing to control collective behaviors like pathogenesis and biofilm formation. Complex topographies such as cracks in rocks, tooth cavities, intestinal crypts and corrugated pipes are a few examples where bacterial colonization can occur. We found that bacterial quorum sensing was repressed outside the crevices. However, quorum sensing was activated inside the crevices. Our results specifically suggest that bacterial colonization and biofilm development under flow and complex geometries can lead to heterogeneous quorum sensing activation, which promotes diversity in the genetic programs that bacteria enact.