Detachment and successive re-attachment of multiple, reversibly-binding tethers result in irreversible bacterial adhesion to surfaces

Jelmer Sjollema, Henny C. van der Mei*, Connie L. Hall, Brandon W. Peterson, Joop de Vries, Lei Song, Ed D. de Jong, Henk J. Busscher, Jan J. T. M. Swartjes

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

30 Citaten (Scopus)
265 Downloads (Pure)


Bacterial adhesion to surfaces occurs ubiquitously and is initially reversible, though becoming more irreversible within minutes after first contact with a surface. We here demonstrate for eight bacterial strains comprising four species, that bacteria adhere irreversibly to surfaces through multiple, reversibly-binding tethers that detach and successively re-attach, but not collectively detach to cause detachment of an entire bacterium. Arguments build on combining analyses of confined Brownian-motion of bacteria adhering to glass and their AFM force-distance curves and include the following observations: (1) force-distance curves showed detachment events indicative of multiple binding tethers, (2) vibration amplitudes of adhering bacteria parallel to a surface decreased with increasing adhesion-forces acting perpendicular to the surface, (3) nanoscopic displacements of bacteria with relatively long autocorrelation times up to several seconds, in absence of microscopic displacement, (4) increases in Mean-Squared-Displacement over prolonged time periods according to tα with 0<α≪1, indicative of confined displacement. Analysis of simulated position-maps of adhering particles using a new, in silico model confirmed that adhesion to surfaces is irreversible through detachment and successive re-attachment of reversibly-binding tethers. This makes bacterial adhesion mechanistically comparable with the irreversible adsorption of high-molecular-weight proteins to surfaces, mediated by multiple, reversibly-binding molecular segments.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftScientific Reports
StatusPublished - 29-jun.-2017

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