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Title: Biofilm matrix disrupts nematode motility and predatory behavior
Authors: Chan, SY 
Liu, SY 
Seng, Z
Chua, SL 
Issue Date: Jan-2021
Source: ISME journal, Jan 2021, v. 15, p. 260-269
Abstract: In nature, bacteria form biofilms by producing exopolymeric matrix that encase its entire community. While it is widely known that biofilm matrix can prevent bacterivore predation and contain virulence factors for killing predators, it is unclear if they can alter predator motility. Here, we report a novel ‘quagmire’ phenotype, where Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms could retard the motility of bacterivorous nematode Caenorhabditis elegans via the production of a specific exopolysaccharide, Psl. Psl could reduce the roaming ability of C. elegans by impeding the slithering velocity of C. elegans. Furthermore, presence of Psl in biofilms could entrap C. elegans within the matrix, with dire consequences to the nematode. After being trapped in biofilms, C. elegans could neither escape effectively from aversive stimuli (noxious blue light), nor leave easily to graze on susceptible biofilm areas. Hence, this reduced the ability of C. elegans to roam and predate on biofilms. Taken together, our work reveals a new function of motility interference by specific biofilm matrix components, and emphasizes its importance in predator-prey interactions.
Keywords: Biofilm
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Caenorhabditis elegans
Biofilm matrix
Publisher: Springer Nature
Journal: ISME journal 
ISSN: 1751-7362
EISSN: 1751-7370
DOI: 10.1038/s41396-020-00779-9
Rights: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to International Society for Microbial Ecology 2020
This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use (, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:
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