Ceramic/polymer composites have been considered as third-generation orthopedic biomaterials due to their ability to closely match properties (such as surface, chemistry, biological, and mechanical) of natural bone. It has already been shown that the addition of nanophase compared with conventional (or micron-scale) ceramics to polymers enhances bone cell functions. However, in order to fully take advantage of the promising nanometer size effects that nanoceramics can provide when added to polymers, it is critical to uniformly disperse them in a polymer matrix. This is critical since ceramic nanoparticles inherently have a strong tendency to form larger agglomerates in a polymer matrix which may compromise their properties. Therefore, in this study, model ceramic nanoparticles, specifically titania and hydroxyapatite (HA), were dispersed in a model polymer (PLGA, poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid) using high-power ultrasonic energy. The mechanical properties of the resulting PLGA composites with well-dispersed ceramic (either titania or HA) nanoparticles were investigated and compared with composites with agglomerated ceramic nanoparticles. Results demonstrated that well-dispersed ceramic nanoparticles (titania or HA) in PLGA improved mechanical properties compared with agglomerated ceramic nanoparticles even though the weight percentage of the ceramics was the same. Specifically, well-dispersed nanoceramics in PLGA enhanced the tensile modulus, tensile strength at yield, ultimate tensile strength, and compressive modulus compared with the more agglomerated nanoceramics in PLGA. In summary, supplemented by previous studies that demonstrated greater osteoblast (bone-forming cell) functions on well-dispersed nanophase ceramics in polymers, the present study demonstrated that the combination of PLGA with well-dispersed nanoceramics enhanced mechanical properties necessary for load-bearing orthopedic/dental applications.
nanocomposites; ceramic nanoparticles; titania nanoparticles; hydroxyapatite nanoparticles; dispersion; agglomeration; biodegradable polymer; PLGA; mechanical properties; orthopedic/dental applications
Previous studies have demonstrated greater functions of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) on nanophase compared with conventional metals. Nanophase metals possess a biologically inspired nanostructured surface that mimics the dimensions of constituent components in bone, including collagen and hydroxyapatite. Not only do these components possess dimensions on the nanoscale, they are aligned in a parallel manner creating a defined orientation in bone. To date, research has yet to evaluate the effect that organized nanosurface features can have on the interaction of osteoblasts with material surfaces. Therefore, to determine if surface orientation of features can mediate osteoblast adhesion and morphology, this study investigated osteoblast function on patterned titanium substrates containing alternating regions of micron rough and nano rough surfaces prepared by novel electron beam evaporation techniques. This study was also interested in determining whether or not the size of the patterned regions had an effect on osteoblast behavior and alignment. Results indicated early controlled osteoblast alignment on these patterned materials as well as greater osteoblast adhesion on the nano rough regions of these patterned substrates. Interestingly, decreasing the width of the nano rough regions (from 80 μm to 22 μm) on these patterned substrates resulted in a decreased number of osteoblasts adhering to these areas. Changes in the width of the nano rough regions also resulted in changes in osteoblast morphology, thus, suggesting there is an optimal pattern dimension that osteoblasts prefer. In summary, results of this study provided evidence that aligned nanophase metal features on the surface of titanium improved early osteoblast functions (morphology and adhesion) promising for their long term functions, criteria necessary to improve orthopedic implant efficacy.
osteoblasts; titanium; nanophase; orthopedic; alignment; surface topography
Attachment and biofilm formation by bacterial pathogens on surfaces in natural, industrial, and hospital settings lead to infections and illnesses and even death. Minimizing bacterial attachment to surfaces using controlled topography could reduce the spreading of pathogens and, thus, the incidence of illnesses and subsequent human and financial losses. In this context, the attachment of key microorganisms, including Escherichia coli, Listeria innocua, and Pseudomonas fluorescens, to silica and alumina surfaces with micron and nanoscale topography was investigated. The results suggest that orientation of the attached cells occurs preferentially such as to maximize their contact area with the surface. Moreover, the bacterial cells exhibited different morphologies, including different number and size of cellular appendages, depending on the topographical details of the surface to which they attached. This suggests that bacteria may utilize different mechanisms of attachment in response to surface topography. These results are important for the design of novel microbe-repellant materials.
Improvements in osteoconduction of implant biomaterials require focusing on the bone-implant interface, which is a complex multifactorial system. Surface topography of implants plays a crucial role at this interface. Nanostructured surfaces have been shown to promote serum protein adsorption and osteoblast adhesion when compared to microstructured surfaces for bone-implant materials. We studied the influence of the serum proteins fibronectin and vitronectin on the attachment and proliferation of osteoblasts onto nanostructured titania surfaces. Human fetal osteoblastic cells hFOB 1.19 were used as model osteoblasts and were grown on nanoporous TiO2 templates, using Ti6Al4V and commercially pure Ti substrates as controls. Results show a significant increase in cell proliferation on nanoporous TiO2 over flat substrates. Initial cell attachment data exhibited a significant effect by either fibronectin or vitronectin on cell adhesion at the surface of any of the tested materials. In addition, the extent of cell adhesion was significantly different between the nanoporous TiO2 and both Ti6Al4V and commercially pure Ti substrates, with the first showing the highest surface coverage. There was no significant difference on osteoblast attachment or proliferation between the presence of fibronectin or vitronectin using any of the material substrates. Taken together, these results suggest that the increase in osteoblast attachment and proliferation shown on the nanoporous TiO2 is due to an increase in the adsorption of fibronectin and vitronectin because of the higher surface area and to an enhanced protein unfolding, which allows access to osteoblast binding motifs within these proteins.
nanoporous TiO2; hFOB 1.19; protein adsorption; vitronectin; fibronectin
The attachment of Pseudomonas fluorescens and an Acinetobacter sp. to hydrogel and polystyrene surfaces was investigated to evaluate the influence of adsorbed water and macromolecules on adhesion. With both organisms, there was a decrease in attachment numbers with increasing water content of the hydrogels. There was also a decrease in attachment with a decrease in water contact angle on untreated, tissue culture and sulfonated polystyrene surfaces; however, the attachment numbers were higher than would be expected on the basis of the hydrogel data. With P. fluorescens, attachment to untreated and tissue culture polystyrene was inhibited by bovine serum albumin, Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide, and the supernatant from spent medium, both when the conditioning substances were added to the suspension of attaching cells and when they were preadsorbed onto the surfaces. Dextran inhibited attachment only when added to the bacterial suspension. Supernatants from centrifuged natural freshwater samples had no effect. Thus, hydration of a surface and the adsorption of macromolecules can reduce bacterial attachment; however, additional factors relating to the chemical composition of the substratum and polymeric stabilization of suspended cells can affect the adhesion interaction and resultant numbers of attached cells.
The physiological and physicochemical bases for the effect of 5, 10, 50, or 100 micrograms of Cd and Zn ml-1 on the attachment and detachment interactions of Pseudomonas fluorescens H2 with glass substrata were determined. Attachment and detachment varied with the type and concentration of metal and the time at which cells were exposed to the metal. The largely inhibitory effect of the metals on bacterial motility and physiological activity did not directly influence attachment. The amount of Cd or Zn accumulated by the cells increased with metal concentration and was greater for free than for attached cells. The hydrophobicity and negative and positive charges of the bacterial surfaces (measured by hydrophobic and electrostatic interaction chromatography) were increased by cell exposure to the metals, particularly after Cd treatment. Cells exposed to Cd prior to attachment showed increased adhesion. Zinc-treated cells did not. There was a positive correlation between adhesion and Cd concentration in the attachment solution. No such relationship existed for Zn. P. fluorescens H2 exposed to Cd prior to attachment desorbed similarly to untreated controls. Zinc pretreatment resulted in decreased desorption. Cells attached in 5 or 10 micrograms of Cd or Zn ml-1 detached less than those attached in 50 or 100 micrograms of Cd or Zn ml-1. The presence of Cd or Zn during detachment had little effect on desorption. The dominant influence of Cd and Zn on attachment and detachment appears to be through modification of the bacterial surface. In natural ecosystems, heavy metals may influence the distribution of bacteria between the solid and liquid phases.
In the last 10 years, biodegradable aliphatic polyesters, such as poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), have attracted increasing attention for their use as scaffold materials in bone tissue engineering because their degradation products can be removed by natural metabolic pathways. However, one main concern with the use of these specific polymers is that their degradation products reduce local pH, which in turn induces an inflammatory reaction and damages bone cell health at the implant site. Thus, the objective of the present in vitro study was to investigate the degradation behavior of PLGA when added with dispersed titania nanoparticles. The results of this study provided the first evidence that the increased dispersion of nanophase titania in PLGA decreased the harmful change in pH normal for PLGA degradation. Moreover, previous studies have demonstrated that the increased dispersion of titania nanoparticles into PLGA significantly improved osteoblast (bone-forming cell) functions (such as adhesion, collagen synthesis, alkaline phosphatase activity, and calcium-containing minerals deposition). In this manner, nanophase titania–PLGA composites may be promising scaffold materials for more effective orthopedic tissue engineering applications.
nanocomposites; tissue engineering scaffolds; polymer; ceramic composites; nanophase titania; degradation; poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)
In low temperature aqueous solutions, it has long been recognized by in situ experiments that many minerals are preceded by crystalline nanometre-sized particles and non-crystalline nanophases. For magmatic systems, nanometre-sized precursors have not yet been demonstrated to exist, although the suggestion has been around for some time. Here we demonstrate by high temperature quench experiments that platinum and arsenic self-organize to nanoparticles, well before the melt has reached a Pt–As concentration at which discrete Pt arsenide minerals become stable phases. If all highly siderophile elements associate to nanophases in undersaturated melts, the distribution of the noble metals between silicate, sulphide and metal melts will be controlled by the surface properties of nano-associations, more so than by the chemical properties of the elements.
It has long been suggested, but never shown, that nanometre-sized particles precede mineral formation in magmatic systems. Here, Helmy et al. demonstrate that platinum and arsenic self-organize to nanoparticle precursors in magmatic liquids before mineral crystallization.
Nanomaterials have unique advantages in controlling stem cell function due to their biomimetic characteristics and special biological and mechanical properties. Controlling adhesion and differentiation of stem cells is critical for tissue regeneration.
This in vitro study investigated the effects of nano-hydroxyapatite, nano-hydroxyapatite-polylactide- co-glycolide (PLGA) composites, and a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP-7)- derived short peptide (DIF-7c) on osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). The peptide was chemically functionalized onto nano-hydroxyapatite, incorporated into a nanophase hydroxyapatite-PLGA composite or PLGA control, or directly injected into culture media.
Unlike the PLGA control, the nano-hydroxyapatite-PLGA composites promoted adhesion of human MSC. Importantly, nano-hydroxyapatite and nano-hydroxyapatite-PLGA composites promoted osteogenic differentiation of human MSCs, comparable with direct injection of the DIF-7c peptide into culture media.
Nano-hydroxyapatite and nano-hydroxyapatite-PLGA composites provide a promising alternative in directing the adhesion and differentiation of human MSC. These nanocomposites should be studied further to clarify their effects on MSC functions and bone remodeling in vivo, eventually translating to clinical applications.
human mesenchymal stem cells; osteogenesis; stem cell differentiation; bone morphogenetic protein; peptide delivery; nanocomposites
Patients on mechanical ventilators for extended periods of time often face the risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia. During the ventilation process, patients incapable of breathing are intubated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) endotracheal tubes (ETTs). PVC ETTs provide surfaces where bacteria can attach and proliferate from the contaminated oropharyngeal space to the sterile bronchoalveolar area. To overcome this problem, ETTs can be coated with antimicrobial agents. However, such coatings may easily delaminate during use. Recently, it has been shown that changes in material topography at the nanometer level can provide antibacterial properties. In addition, some metabolites, such as fructose, have been found to increase the efficiency of antibiotics used to treat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) infections. In this study, we combined the antibacterial effect of nanorough ETT topographies with sugar metabolites to decrease bacterial growth and biofilm formation on ETTs. We present for the first time that the presence of fructose on the nanorough surfaces decreases the number of planktonic S. aureus bacteria in the solution and biofilm formation on the surface after 24 hours. We thus envision that this method has the potential to impact the future of surface engineering of biomaterials leading to more successful clinical outcomes in terms of longer ETT lifetimes, minimized infections, and decreased antibiotic usage; all of which can decrease the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the clinical setting.
antibacterial; medical device infection; ventilator-associated pneumonia; endotracheal tubes; nanoroughness; fructose; Staphylococcus aureus
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study the morphological changes of two Gram-negative pathogens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli, after exposure to nitric oxide (NO). The time-dependent effects of NO released from a xerogel coating and the concentration-dependent effects rendered by a small-molecule that releases NO in a bolus were examined and compared. Bacteria exhibited irregular and degraded exteriors. With NO-releasing surfaces, an increase in surface debris and disorganized adhesion patterns were observed compared to controls. Analysis of cell surface topography revealed that increasing membrane roughness correlated with higher doses of NO. At a lower total dose, NO delivered via a bolus resulted in greater membrane roughness than NO released from a surface via a sustained flux. At sub-inhibitory levels, treatment with amoxicillin, an antibiotic known to compromise the integrity of the cell wall, led to morphologies resembling those resulting from NO treatment. Our observations indicate that cell envelope deterioration is a visible consequence of NO-exposure for both Gram-negative species studied.
antimicrobial; atomic force microscopy; Gram-negative; morphology; nitric oxide
Bacterial biofilms impair the operation of many industrial processes. Deinococcus geothermalis is efficient primary biofilm former in paper machine water, functioning as an adhesion platform for secondary biofilm bacteria. It produces thick biofilms on various abiotic surfaces, but the mechanism of attachment is not known. High-resolution field-emission scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) showed peritrichous adhesion threads mediating the attachment of D. geothermalis E50051 to stainless steel and glass surfaces and cell-to-cell attachment, irrespective of the growth medium. Extensive slime matrix was absent from the D. geothermalis E50051 biofilms. AFM of the attached cells revealed regions on the cell surface with different topography, viscoelasticity, and adhesiveness, possibly representing different surface layers that were patchily exposed. We used oscillating probe techniques to keep the tip-biofilm interactions as small as possible. In spite of this, AFM imaging of living D. geothermalis E50051 biofilms in water resulted in repositioning but not in detachment of the surface-attached cells. The irreversibly attached cells did not detach when pushed with a glass capillary but escaped the mechanical force by sliding along the surface. Air drying eliminated the flexibility of attachment, but it resumed after reimmersion in water. Biofilms were evaluated for their strength of attachment. D. geothermalis E50051 persisted 1 h of washing with 0.2% NaOH or 0.5% sodium dodecyl sulfate, in contrast to biofilms of Burkholderia cepacia F28L1 or the well-characterized biofilm former Staphylococcus epidermidis O-47. Deinococcus radiodurans strain DSM 20539T also formed tenacious biofilms. This paper shows that D. geothermalis has firm but laterally slippery attachment not reported before for a nonmotile species.
The rate of attachment of bacteria to, and their subsequent detachment from, the cut surface of raw potato tissue was measured and modeled by using mathematical approaches that allowed detailed objective comparisons of adhesion processes under different conditions. Attachment was rapid and reached equilibrium after contact for 60 min. A new method to measure the probability of detachment was developed and modeled, revealing that the probability of detachment for Pseudomonas fluorescens remained unchanged for contact times between less than 5 s and 60 min. Listeria monocytogenes, however, was more easily removed initially, with the probability of detachment decreasing over the first 2 min of contact but remaining constant and equivalent to that for Pseudomonas fluorescens thereafter. For all of the bacteria tested, the number of bacteria attached after 2 min of contact was proportional to the inoculum concentration raised to the power of 0.79.
The relationships among surface energy, adsorbed organic matter, and attached bacterial growth were examined by measuring the degradation of adsorbed ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (a common algal protein) by attached bacteria (Pseudomonas strain S9). We found that surface energy (work of adhesion of water) determined the amount and availability of adsorbed protein and, consequently, the growth of attached bacteria. Percent degradation of adsorbed ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase decreased with increasing hydrophobicity of the surface (decreasing work of adhesion). As a result, growth rates of attached bacteria were initially higher on hydrophilic glass than on hydrophobic polyethylene. However, during long (6-h) incubations, growth rates increased with surface hydrophobicity because of increasing amounts of adsorbed protein. Together with previous studies, these results suggest that the number of attached bacteria over time will be a complex function of surface energy. Whereas both protein adsorption and bacterial attachment decrease with increasing surface energy, availability of adsorbed protein and consequently initial bacterial growth rates increase with surface energy.
The colonization of glass surfaces by motile and nonmotile strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens was evaluated by using dual-dilution continuous culture (DDCC), competitive and noncompetitive attachment assays, and continuous-flow slide culture. Both strains possessed identical growth rates whether in the attached or planktonic state. Results of attachment assays using radiolabeled bacteria indicated that both strains obeyed first-order (monolayer) adsorption kinetics in pure culture. However, the motile strain attached about four times more rapidly and achieved higher final cell densities on surfaces than did the nonmotile strain (2.03 × 108 versus 5.57 × 107 cells vial-1) whether evaluated alone or in cocultures containing motile and nonmotile P. fluorescens. These kinetics were attributed to the increased transport of motile cells from the bulk aqueous phase to the hydrodynamic boundary layer where bacterial attachment, growth, and recolonization could occur. First-order attachment kinetics were also observed for both strains by using continuous-flow slide culture assays analyzed by image analysis. The DDCC system contained both aqueous and particulate phases which could be diluted independently. DDCC results indicated that when cocultures containing motile and nonmotile P. fluorescens colonized solid particles, the motile strain replaced the nonmotile strain in the system over time. Increasing the aqueous-phase rates of dilution decreased the time required for extinction of the nonmotile strain while concurrently decreasing the overall carrying capacity of the DDCC system for both strains. These results confirmed that bacterial motility conveyed a selective advantage during surface colonization even in aqueous-phase systems not dominated by laminar flow.
The ability of soil bacteria to successfully compete with a range of other microbial species is crucial for their growth and survival in the nutrient-limited soil environment. In the present work, we studied the behavior and transcriptional responses of soil-inhabiting Pseudomonas fluorescens strain Pf0-1 on nutrient-poor agar to confrontation with strains of three phylogenetically different bacterial genera, that is, Bacillus, Brevundimonas and Pedobacter. Competition for nutrients was apparent as all three bacterial genera had a negative effect on the density of P. fluorescens Pf0-1; this effect was most strong during the interaction with Bacillus. Microarray-based analyses indicated strong differences in the transcriptional responses of Pf0-1 to the different competitors. There was higher similarity in the gene expression response of P. fluorescens Pf0-1 to the Gram-negative bacteria as compared with the Gram-positive strain. The Gram-negative strains did also trigger the production of an unknown broad-spectrum antibiotic in Pf0-1. More detailed analysis indicated that expression of specific Pf0-1 genes involved in signal transduction and secondary metabolite production was strongly affected by the competitors' identity, suggesting that Pf0-1 can distinguish among different competitors and fine-tune its competitive strategies. The results presented here demonstrate that P. fluorescens Pf0-1 shows a species-specific transcriptional and metabolic response to bacterial competitors and provide new leads in the identification of specific cues in bacteria–bacteria interactions and of novel competitive strategies, antimicrobial traits and genes.
bacterial competition; inter-specific interactions; Pseudomonas fluorescens; transcriptional responses; antibiosis
Bioluminescence, mRNA levels, and toluene degradation rates in Pseudomonas putida TVA8 were measured as a function of various concentrations of toluene and trichloroethylene (TCE). TVA8 showed an increasing bioluminescence response to increasing TCE and toluene concentrations. Compared to uninduced TVA8 cultures, todC1 mRNA levels increased 11-fold for TCE-treated cultures and 13-fold for toluene-treated cultures. Compared to uninduced P. putida F1 cultures, todC1 mRNA levels increased 4.4-fold for TCE-induced cultures and 4.9-fold for toluene-induced cultures. Initial toluene degradation rates were linearly correlated with specific bioluminescence in TVA8 cultures.
We present a fast, efficient and reliable system based on mesoporous silica chips to specifically fractionate and enrich the low molecular weight proteome. Mesoporous silica thin films with tunable features at the nanoscale were fabricated using the triblock copolymer template pathway. Using different templates and concentrations in the precursor solution, various pore size distributions, pore structures and connectivity were obtained and applied for selective recovery of low mass proteins. In combination with mass spectrometry and statistic analysis, we demonstrated the correlation between the nanophase characteristics of the mesoporous silica thin films and the specificity and efficacy of low mass proteome harvesting. In addition, to overcome the limitations of the pre-functionalization method in polymer selection, plasma ashing was used for the first time for the treatment of the mesoporous silica surface prior to chemical modification. Surface charge modifications by different functional groups resulted in a selective capture of the low molecular weight proteins from serum sample. In conclusion our study demonstrates that the ability to tune the physico-chemical properties of mesoporous silica surfaces, for a selective enrichment of the low molecular weight proteome from complex biological fluids, has the potential to promote proteomic biomarker discovery.
mesoporous silica thin film; low molecular weight proteome; nanotexture; chemical modification; mass spectrometry; early diagnostics
Two bacterial isolates, Pseudomonas sp. SL10 and Zoogloea sp. SL20, attach to heterocysts of Anabaena spp. with a high degree of selectivity, and this attachment can be expressed quantitatively in terms of adsorption isotherms. Adhesion of Pseudomonas sp. SL10 was restricted to a monolayer and exhibited a type I (Langmuir) isotherm, whereas adhesion of Zoogloea sp. SL20 involved multilayer attachment and exhibited a type II isotherm. The degree of adhesion by the bacteria to heterocysts of different Anabaena species may reflect the distribution and abundance of binding sites on the surface of different heterocysts. Both Pseudomonas sp. SL10 and Zoogloea sp SL20 promoted higher rates of acetylene reduction by Anabaena spp. under oxygenated culture conditions when compared with a cyanobacterial control. At ambient oxygen levels, however, only Zoogloea sp. SL20 stimulated acetylene reduction by Anabaena spp.
The development of sensitive methods for observing individual bacterial cells in a population in experimental models and natural environments, such as in biofilms or on plant roots, is of great importance for studying these systems. We report the construction of plasmids which constitutively express a bright mutant of the green fluorescent protein of the jellyfish Aequorea victoria and are stably maintained in Pseudomonas spp. We demonstrate the utility of these plasmids to detect individual cells in two experimental laboratory systems: (i) the examination of a mixed bacterial population of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia attached to an abiotic surface and (ii) the association of Pseudomonas fluorescens WCS365 with tomato seedling roots. We also show that two plasmids, pSMC2 and pGB5, are particularly useful, because they are stable in the absence of antibiotic selection, they place an undetectable metabolic burden on cells that carry the plasmids, and cells carrying these constructs continue to fluoresce even after 7 days in culture without the addition of fresh nutrients. The construction of improved Escherichia coli-Pseudomonas shuttle vectors which carry multiple drug resistance markers also is described.
Many agricultural uses of bacteria require the establishment of efficient bacterial populations in the rhizosphere, for which colonization of plant seeds often constitutes a critical first step. Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is a strain that colonizes the rhizosphere of a number of agronomically important plants at high population densities. To identify the functions involved in initial seed colonization by P. putida KT2440, we subjected this strain to transposon mutagenesis and screened for mutants defective in attachment to corn seeds. Eight different mutants were isolated and characterized. While all of them showed reduced attachment to seeds, only two had strong defects in their adhesion to abiotic surfaces (glass and different plastics). Sequences of the loci affected in all eight mutants were obtained. None of the isolated genes had previously been described in P. putida, although four of them showed clear similarities with genes of known functions in other organisms. They corresponded to putative surface and membrane proteins, including a calcium-binding protein, a hemolysin, a peptide transporter, and a potential multidrug efflux pump. One other showed limited similarities with surface proteins, while the remaining three presented no obvious similarities with known genes, indicating that this study has disclosed novel functions.
The degradation of trichloroethylene (TCE) by toluene-oxidizing bacteria has been extensively studied, and yet the influence of environmental conditions and physiological characteristics of individual strains has received little attention. To consider these effects, the levels of TCE degradation by strains distinguishable on the basis of toluene and nitrate metabolism were compared under aerobic or hypoxic conditions in the presence and absence of nitrate and an exogenous electron donor, lactate. Under aerobic conditions with toluene-induced cells, strains expressing toluene dioxygenases (Pseudomonas putida F1, Pseudomonas sp. strain JS150, Pseudomonas fluorescens CFS215, and Pseudomonas sp. strain W31) degraded TCE at low rates, with less than 12% of the TCE removed in 18 h. In contrast, strains expressing toluene monooxygenases (Burkholderia cepacia G4, Burkholderia pickettii PKO1, and Pseudomonas mendocina KR1) degraded 36 to 67% of the TCE over the same period. Under hypoxic conditions (1.7 mg of dissolved oxygen per liter) or when lactate was added as an electron donor, the extent of TCE degradation by toluene-induced cells was generally lower. In the presence of lactate, degradation of TCE by denitrifying strain PKO1 was enhanced by nitrate under conditions in which dissimilatory nitrate reduction was observed. The results of experiments performed with strains F1, G4, PKO1, and KR1 suggested that TCE or an oxidation product induces toluene degradation and that TCE induces its own degradation in the monooxygenase strains. The role of TCE as an inducer of toluene oxygenase activity in PKO1 was confirmed by performing a promoter probe analysis, in which we found that TCE activates transcription from the PKO1 3-monooxygenase operon promoter.
Controlled tuning of material properties by external stimuli represents one of the major topics of current research in the field of functional materials. Electrochemically induced property tuning has recently emerged as a promising pathway in this direction making use of nanophase materials with a high fraction of electrode-electrolyte interfaces. The present letter reports on electrochemical property tuning of porous nanocrystalline Pt. Deeper insight into the underlying processes could be gained by means of a direct comparison of the charge-induced response of two different properties, namely electrical resistance and magnetic moment. For this purpose, four-point resistance measurements and SQUID magnetometry were performed under identical in situ electrochemical control focussing on the regime of electrooxidation. Fully reversible variations of the electrical resistance and the magnetic moment of 6% and 1% were observed upon the formation or dissolution of a subatomic chemisorbed oxygen surface layer, respectively. The increase of the resistance, which is directly correlated to the amount of deposited oxygen, is considered to be primarily caused by charge-carrier scattering processes at the metal–electrolyte interfaces. In comparison, the decrease of the magnetic moment upon positive charging appears to be governed by the electric field at the nanocrystallite–electrolyte interfaces due to spin–orbit coupling.
electrical resistance; electrochemistry; magnetism; porous nanocrystalline Pt; tunable properties
The formation of complex bacterial communities known as biofilms begins with the interaction of planktonic cells with a surface. A switch between planktonic and sessile growth is believed to result in a phenotypic change in bacteria. In this study, a global analysis of physiological changes of the plant saprophyte Pseudomonas putida following 6 h of attachment to a silicone surface was carried out by analysis of protein profiles and by mRNA expression patterns. Two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis revealed 15 proteins that were up-regulated following bacterial adhesion and 30 proteins that were down-regulated. N-terminal sequence analyses of 11 of the down-regulated proteins identified a protein with homology to the ABC transporter, PotF; an outer membrane lipoprotein, NlpD; and five proteins that were homologous to proteins involved in amino acid metabolism. cDNA subtractive hybridization revealed 40 genes that were differentially expressed following initial attachment of P. putida. Twenty-eight of these genes had known homologs. As with the 2-D gel analysis, NlpD and genes involved in amino acid metabolism were identified by subtractive hybridization and found to be down-regulated following surface-associated growth. The gene for PotB was up-regulated, suggesting differential expression of ABC transporters following attachment to this surface. Other genes that showed differential regulation were structural components of flagella and type IV pili, as well as genes involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis. Immunoblot analysis of PilA and FliC confirmed the presence of flagella in planktonic cultures but not in 12- or 24-h biofilms. In contrast, PilA was observed in 12-h biofilms but not in planktonic culture. Recent evidence suggests that quorum sensing by bacterial homoserine lactones (HSLs) may play a regulatory role in biofilm development. To determine if similar protein profiles occurred during quorum sensing and during early biofilm formation, HSLs extracted from P. putida and pure C12-HSL were added to 6-h planktonic cultures of P. putida, and cell extracts were analyzed by 2-D gel profiles. Differential expression of 16 proteins was observed following addition of HSLs. One protein, PotF, was found to be down-regulated by both surface-associated growth and by HSL addition. The other 15 proteins did not correspond to proteins differentially expressed by surface-associated growth. The results presented here demonstrate that P. putida undergoes a global change in gene expression following initial attachment to a surface. Quorum sensing may play a role in the initial attachment process, but other sensory processes must also be involved in these phenotypic changes.
Comparison of the genome sequences of three Pseudomonas fluorescens strains reveals a heterogeneity reminiscent of a species complex rather than a single species
Pseudomonas fluorescens are common soil bacteria that can improve plant health through nutrient cycling, pathogen antagonism and induction of plant defenses. The genome sequences of strains SBW25 and Pf0-1 were determined and compared to each other and with P. fluorescens Pf-5. A functional genomic in vivo expression technology (IVET) screen provided insight into genes used by P. fluorescens in its natural environment and an improved understanding of the ecological significance of diversity within this species.
Comparisons of three P. fluorescens genomes (SBW25, Pf0-1, Pf-5) revealed considerable divergence: 61% of genes are shared, the majority located near the replication origin. Phylogenetic and average amino acid identity analyses showed a low overall relationship. A functional screen of SBW25 defined 125 plant-induced genes including a range of functions specific to the plant environment. Orthologues of 83 of these exist in Pf0-1 and Pf-5, with 73 shared by both strains. The P. fluorescens genomes carry numerous complex repetitive DNA sequences, some resembling Miniature Inverted-repeat Transposable Elements (MITEs). In SBW25, repeat density and distribution revealed 'repeat deserts' lacking repeats, covering approximately 40% of the genome.
P. fluorescens genomes are highly diverse. Strain-specific regions around the replication terminus suggest genome compartmentalization. The genomic heterogeneity among the three strains is reminiscent of a species complex rather than a single species. That 42% of plant-inducible genes were not shared by all strains reinforces this conclusion and shows that ecological success requires specialized and core functions. The diversity also indicates the significant size of genetic information within the Pseudomonas pan genome.