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Sensors 2015, 15(2), 4229-4241; doi:10.3390/s150204229

Microbial Biofilm as a Smart Material

1
Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Kemitorvet 208, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
2
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Hopkins Building, Downing Site, Cambridge CB2 1QW, UK
3
Biotech Research & Innovation Centre, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark
4
Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Ørsteds Plads 349, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 January 2015 / Revised: 8 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 February 2015 / Published: 12 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Materials for Switchable Sensors)
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Abstract

Microbial biofilm colonies will in many cases form a smart material capable of responding to external threats dependent on their size and internal state. The microbial community accordingly switches between passive, protective, or attack modes of action. In order to decide which strategy to employ, it is essential for the biofilm community to be able to sense its own size. The sensor designed to perform this task is termed a quorum sensor, since it only permits collective behaviour once a sufficiently large assembly of microbes have been established. The generic quorum sensor construct involves two genes, one coding for the production of a diffusible signal molecule and one coding for a regulator protein dedicated to sensing the signal molecules. A positive feedback in the signal molecule production sets a well-defined condition for switching into the collective mode. The activation of the regulator involves a slow dimerization, which allows low-pass filtering of the activation of the collective mode. Here, we review and combine the model components that form the basic quorum sensor in a number of Gram-negative bacteria, e.g., Pseudomonas aeruginosa. View Full-Text
Keywords: quorum sensing; size sensor; AHL; PQS; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; OdDHL; signal molecule; filtering; switch; biofilm quorum sensing; size sensor; AHL; PQS; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; OdDHL; signal molecule; filtering; switch; biofilm
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Garde, C.; Welch, M.; Ferkinghoff-Borg, J.; Sams, T. Microbial Biofilm as a Smart Material. Sensors 2015, 15, 4229-4241.

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