Biopolymer Patterning-Directed Secretion in Mucoid and Nonmucoid Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Revealed by Multimodal Chemical Imaging

Jin Jia, Joanna F. Ellis, Tianyuan Cao, Kaiyu Fu, Nydia Morales-Soto, Joshua D. Shrout, Jonathan V. Sweedler, Paul W. Bohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quinolone, pyocyanin, and rhamnolipid production were studied in Pseudomonas aeruginosa by spatially patterning mucin, a glycoprotein important to infection of lung epithelia. Mass spectrometric imaging and confocal Raman microscopy are combined to probe P. aeruginosa biofilms from mucoid and nonmucoid strains grown on lithographically defined patterns. Quinolone signatures from biofilms on patterned vs unpatterned and mucin vs mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA) surfaces were compared. Microbial attachment is accompanied by secretion of 2-alkyl-4-quinolones as well as rhamnolipids from the mucoid and nonmucoid strains. Pyocyanin was also detected both in the biofilm and in the supernatant in the mucoid strain only. Significant differences in the spatiotemporal distributions of secreted factors are observed between strains and among different surface patterning conditions. The mucoid strain is sensitive to composition and patterning while the nonmucoid strain is not, and in promoting community development in the mucoid strain, nonpatterned surfaces are better than patterned, and mucin is better than MUA. Also, the mucoid strain secretes the virulence factor pyocyanin in a way that correlates with distress. A change in the relative abundance for two rhamnolipids is observed in the mucoid strain during exposure to mucin, whereas minimal variation is observed in the nonmucoid strain. Differences between mucoid and nonmucoid strains are consistent with their strain-specific phenology, in which the mucoid strain develops highly protected and withdrawn biofilms that achieve Pseudomonas quinolone signal production under limited conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-607
Number of pages10
JournalACS Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 2021


  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • biofilm
  • mass spectrometry
  • quorum sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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