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Microorganisms 2017, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5010005

Fluorescence Lectin Bar-Coding of Glycoconjugates in the Extracellular Matrix of Biofilm and Bioaggregate Forming Microorganisms

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rikke L. Meyer
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biofilm Matrix)
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Abstract

Microbial biofilm systems are defined as interface-associated microorganisms embedded into a self-produced matrix. The extracellular matrix represents a continuous challenge in terms of characterization and analysis. The tools applied in more detailed studies comprise extraction/chemical analysis, molecular characterization, and visualisation using various techniques. Imaging by laser microscopy became a standard tool for biofilm analysis, and, in combination with fluorescently labelled lectins, the glycoconjugates of the matrix can be assessed. By employing this approach a wide range of pure culture biofilms from different habitats were examined using the commercially available lectins. From the results, a binary barcode pattern of lectin binding can be generated. Furthermore, the results can be fine-tuned and transferred into a heat map according to signal intensity. The lectin barcode approach is suggested as a useful tool for investigating the biofilm matrix characteristics and dynamics at various levels, e.g. bacterial cell surfaces, adhesive footprints, individual microcolonies, and the gross biofilm or bio-aggregate. Hence fluorescence lectin bar-coding (FLBC) serves as a basis for a subsequent tailor-made fluorescence lectin-binding analysis (FLBA) of a particular biofilm. So far, the lectin approach represents the only tool for in situ characterization of the glycoconjugate makeup in biofilm systems. Furthermore, lectin staining lends itself to other fluorescence techniques in order to correlate it with cellular biofilm constituents in general and glycoconjugate producers in particular. View Full-Text
Keywords: biofilm; biofilm matrix; extracellular matrix (ECM); extracellular polymeric substances (EPS); lectin; fluorescence labelled lectin; glycoconjugate; laser microscopy; confocal microscopy; confocal laser scanning microscopy biofilm; biofilm matrix; extracellular matrix (ECM); extracellular polymeric substances (EPS); lectin; fluorescence labelled lectin; glycoconjugate; laser microscopy; confocal microscopy; confocal laser scanning microscopy
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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

Neu, T.R.; Kuhlicke, U. Fluorescence Lectin Bar-Coding of Glycoconjugates in the Extracellular Matrix of Biofilm and Bioaggregate Forming Microorganisms. Microorganisms 2017, 5, 5.

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