Home Biology Pseudomonas aeruginosa sort IV pili actively induce mucus contraction to kind biofilms in tissue-engineered human airways

Pseudomonas aeruginosa sort IV pili actively induce mucus contraction to kind biofilms in tissue-engineered human airways

Pseudomonas aeruginosa sort IV pili actively induce mucus contraction to kind biofilms in tissue-engineered human airways


Quotation: Rossy T, Distler T, Meirelles LA, Pezoldt J, Kim J, Talà L, et al. (2023) Pseudomonas aeruginosa sort IV pili actively induce mucus contraction to kind biofilms in tissue-engineered human airways. PLoS Biol 21(8):


Tutorial Editor: Victor Sourjik, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology: Max-Planck-Institut fur terrestrische Mikrobiologie, GERMANY

Acquired: December 8, 2022; Accepted: June 21, 2023; Revealed: August 1, 2023

Copyright: © 2023 Rossy et al. That is an open entry article distributed below the phrases of the Inventive Commons Attribution License, which allows unrestricted use, distribution, and copy in any medium, offered the unique creator and supply are credited.

Knowledge Availability: All related knowledge are throughout the paper and its Supporting Data information.

Funding: This work was supported by the Swiss Nationwide Science Basis by the Venture grant quantity 310030_189084 (to AP) and NCCR AntiResist (to AP). The funders had no function in research design, knowledge assortment and evaluation, choice to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing pursuits: The authors have declared that no competing pursuits exist.

air–liquid interface; ASL,
airway floor liquid; CBF,
cilia beating frequency; CF,
cystic fibrosis; CFU,
colony–forming unit; COPD,
continual obstructive pulmonary illness; ECM,
extracellular matrix; HBE,
human bronchial epithelial; PFA,
paraformaldehyde; scRNA–seq,
single–cell RNA sequencing; SNES,
Scalable Nonlinear Equations Solvers; SPIM,
selective airplane illumination microscope; UMAP,
Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection; WT,
wild sort


Micro organism predominantly colonize their environments within the type of biofilms, dense communities of contiguous cells embedded in a self–secreted polymeric matrix [1]. The mechanisms of biofilm formation have been extensively studied on abiotic surfaces and in laboratory situations [2,3]. In distinction, our understanding of biofilm morphogenesis in a sensible context of human infections is restricted [4,5]. Biofilms from the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa epitomize this disparity. Scientific observations present that P. aeruginosa kinds airway–related biofilms throughout acute and continual pneumoniae in immunocompromised people [6,7]. Resulting from their medical prevalence, P. aeruginosa biofilms have been meticulously investigated in vitro. Nonetheless, the structure of in vivo P. aeruginosa biofilms sampled from affected person sputum and lung explants is sort of distinct from in vitro ones [5]. This discrepancy signifies that biofilm research in axenic environments omit important components of the airway mucosal floor that contribute to biofilm morphogenesis.

Epithelial tissues are lined with a hydrogel substance referred to as mucus (Fig 1A), the primary line of protection of the airway in opposition to respiratory pathogens. Devoted goblet cells secrete gel–forming mucin glycoproteins that crosslink right into a viscoelastic substance upon exocytosis to kind mucus [8,9]. The mucus hydrogel mesh is impermeable to massive particles, thereby functioning as a passive bodily barrier [8,9]. People with underlying respiratory situations akin to continual obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF) have aberrant mucus. On the similar time, they’re vulnerable to particularly growing continual P. aeruginosa pneumonia [10]. Regardless of this frequent affiliation, how mucus mechanics contribute to the onset and persistence of P. aeruginosa throughout an infection stays unresolved.


Fig 1. A tissue–engineered airway as a novel an infection mannequin.

(a) Simplified illustration of the airway mucosa. Mucus–secreting goblet cells and beating ciliated cells are important to generate mucociliarly clearance, which transports inhaled pathogens out of the airway. PCL, periciliary layer. (b) Image and schematic of an AirGel chip. (c) Brightfield picture of an AirGel on the day of HBE cell have been seeded (left) and on the ALI after 30 days in tradition (proper). (d) AirGels permeability measurement by dextran assay. The brightfield picture (left) reveals the epithelial cells lining the lumen; the epifluorescence picture (middle) reveals sign from the fluorescent 4 kDa dextran that doesn’t cross the epithelial barrier, as proven within the overlay image (proper). (e) Longitudinal cross–sectional photographs of immunostained differentiated AirGels. Confocal photographs present the gel–forming mucin MUC5AC (inexperienced) and acetylated α–tubulin labeling cilia (orange) together with the actin dye phalloidin (pink) and nuclear dye DAPI (blue). The transverse cross part 3D picture was reconstituted from SPIM knowledge for actin fluorescence. The underside proper panel is a maximal depth projection of a z–stack acquired within the curved lumen. (f) scRNA–seq identifies cell sort range of AirGels. UMAP embedding of cells pooled from 3 differentiated AirGels, subjected to scRNA–seq profiling. The information underlying this determine could be present in S1 Knowledge. ALI, air–liquid interface; HBE, human bronchial epithelial; scRNA–seq, single–cell RNA sequencing; SPIM, selective airplane illumination microscope; UMAP, Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection.


In vitro experimentations present that mucins affect P. aeruginosa’s multicellular life-style. Mucin–coated surfaces and concentrated mucus repress P. aeruginosa motility [1113], thereby favoring biofilm formation. Additionally, mucin polymers generate entropic forces that passively promote aggregation [14]. In different situations, natively purified mucins may have a unfavorable impact on biofilms biogenesis by stimulating motility and dispersal [1517]. These experiments every seize completely different chemical and bodily elements of mucus, however how all these contributions steadiness in vivo to affect biofilm formation has but to be resolved. Minimally invasive experimental fashions that replicate physicochemical properties of the airway mucosa have the potential to convey a brand new perspective on this course of.

Present airway an infection fashions have limitations that stop mechanistic investigations of bacterial infections on the single–cell degree. Tracheal explants from animal fashions permit dynamic research [1823]. They’re nonetheless brief–lived, displaying a fast depletion in goblet cells after a couple of hours with indicators of apoptosis [24]. As well as, murine and human airway mucus reveals distinct composition and distribution [18]; 2D in vitro fashions methods primarily based on porous membranes inserts [2527] and lung–on–a–chip gadgets [2830] usually are not fitted to excessive–decision microscopy and lack morphological accuracy. Organoids have a powerful potential in recapitulating bodily and organic elements of the mucosal surroundings [3133]. Nevertheless, the cystic morphology of organoids prevents the institution of an air–liquid interface (ALI) crucial to breed in vivo situations. As well as, infecting organoids requires microinjection of bacterial suspension, an invasive and tedious course of.

To bridge the hole between in vitro biofilm research and medical observations, we used a tissue–engineering strategy to faithfully emulate the mucosal surroundings of the airway within the lab. We engineered AirGels (airmeans in gels): human lung epithelial tissues supported by a tubular collagen/Matrigel extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffold [34,35]. We show that AirGels recapitulate key options of the human airway epithelium, together with correct cell varieties, mucus secretion, and ciliary beating. We will noninvasively infect AirGels with P. aeruginosa whereas sustaining the ALI to picture biofilm formation at excessive spatiotemporal decision. Utilizing this new an infection mannequin, we discovered that P. aeruginosa kinds biofilms on mucus through a beforehand unknown mechanism. By monitoring dwell biofilms in situ, we discovered that P. aeruginosa mixture with each other by actively contracting mucus. Utilizing a mix of simulations and biophysical experiments in chosen mutants, we present that P. aeruginosa makes use of lengthy and skinny motorized filament referred to as sort IV pili (T4P) to generate the power essential to contract mucus.


AirGel: A tissue–engineered airway an infection mannequin

We grew AirGels from major human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells, which broaden to confluence on the cylindrical cavity of the ECM scaffold (Fig 1B). An elastomeric microfluidic chip maintains AirGels and permits for luminal entry. The ECM geometry guides epithelial structure, enabling morphological customization of AirGels. Right here, we designed and optimized AirGels to allow excessive–decision fluorescence microcopy to watch an infection dynamics on the single bacterium degree in dwell tissue. Sustaining an ALI within the lumen promotes epithelial cell differentiation and reproduces the physiological situations encountered within the airway. We subsequently optimized the matrix formulation in order that AirGels stay secure on the ALI upon removing of tradition medium from the lumen, thereby biologically and bodily replicating the airway surroundings (Fig 1C).

AirGel epithelia are tight and impermeable (Fig 1D). Single–airplane illumination microscopy photographs present that mature AirGels kind tubular epithelial tissue, recapitulating the structure and dimensions of a human small bronchus (Fig 1E) [36,37]. We characterised HBE cell differentiation in 34–day–outdated AirGels. Immunofluorescence highlighted an considerable inhabitants of mucus–producing goblet cells and ciliated cells (Fig 1E). To quantify the abundance of every cell sort, we carried out single–cell RNA sequencing (scRNA–seq) of mature AirGels. We recognized 5 principal clusters (Figs 1F and S1): basal cells (8%), ciliated cells (41%), secretory cells (34%), in addition to immature ciliated (7%) and immature secretory cells (that are additionally typically outlined as suprabasal cells) (10%). AirGels subsequently reproduce the mobile composition and histological signature of human airway epithelia [3841] and extra particularly the distal human airway [42].

Given its outstanding operate in host–microbe interactions, we rigorously characterised the structure of mucus in AirGels. Immunofluorescence in opposition to the airway gel–forming mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B confirmed the presence of extracellular mucus within the type of thick luminal filaments (Figs 2A and S2). We additionally noticed related fiber–like mucus structure in dwell AirGels by staining with the fluorescently–labeled lectin jacalin [21]. These fibers recapitulate the mucus structure noticed in porcine and murine tracheal explants [18,20,21]. We then characterised AirGel mucociliary clearance features. Measurements of cilia beating frequency (CBF) in AirGels have been indistinguishable from earlier ex vivo measurements (Fig 2B and S1 Video) [9,4345]. As well as, AirGel cilia generated a directional circulate whose clearance velocity was within the decrease finish of the physiological vary (Figs 2C and S3) [9,18,23]. We attribute the discrepancies to completely different experimental situations. For instance, since AirGels are curved, our in–airplane visualizations picture particles which might be at completely different heights from the epithelium floor. Because of this, solely a fraction of those particles lies within the applicable vary for maximal clearance. Consequently, median velocities we measured are likely to underestimate of the particular clearance pace. Nevertheless, we measured that most velocities are related between Transwells and AirGels (S3B Fig). Humidity is one other potential trigger for these variations, since it’s recognized to affect mucociliary clearance in mouse lungs [23]. General, although, AirGels reproduce organic, bodily, and dynamic parameters of the human airway together with its tube–form, all in a system permitting for dwell imaging of host–pathogen interactions at excessive decision.


Fig 2. Mucociliary operate of AirGels.

(a) Extracellular luminal mucus in AirGels in methacarn–mounted (left) and dwell configurations (proper). Stainings have been achieved with antibodies in opposition to MUC5AC and MUC5B gel–forming mucins, in addition to the fluorescent lectin jacalin (which targets glycans), respectively. (b) CBFs of 5 completely different AirGels, measured by monitoring the oscillations of fluorescent beads hooked up to cilia. The kymograph on the left reveals the trajectory of such a bead throughout one second. (c) Mucociliary clearance in AirGels. (i) Trajectories of fluorescent microparticles within the lumen of 1 undifferentiated and 1 differentiated AirGel. (ii) Corresponding velocity distributions. Black traces point out the median velocity. (iii) Median particle velocities for 3 differentiated and undifferentiated AirGels present the contribution of cilia beating in clearance. Every knowledge level corresponds to the median in every experiment; the grey bar reveals the median of triplicates. Statistics: unbiased samples Pupil t check with Bonferroni correction (p < 10−7). The information underlying this determine could be present in S2 Knowledge. CBF, cilia beating frequency.


P. aeruginosa quickly kinds mucus–related biofilms in AirGels

To visualise biofilm formation in a sensible airway mucosal context, we inoculated P. aeruginosa constitutively expressing the fluorescent protein mScarlet within the lumen of AirGels maintained on the ALI. After 13 h of incubation, we noticed that micro organism had extensively colonized the mucosal floor. P. aeruginosa shaped interconnected bacterial clusters colocalized with mucus throughout the airway floor liquid (ASL) between epithelial cells and the ALI (Fig 3A). In dynamic visualizations, micro organism remained hooked up to mucus regardless of actions induced by beating cilia (S2 Video). Since P. aeruginosa takes days to kind biofilms in vitro, we have been stunned to see these communities kind solely inside a couple of hours in AirGels [46]. We subsequently went on to analyze the mechanisms of biofilm formation on mucus.


Fig 3. P. aeruginosa quickly kinds mucus–related biofilms.

(a) P. aeruginosa an infection of a 62–day–outdated AirGel. Confocal photographs have been acquired 13 h after inoculation. P. aeruginosa constitutively expresses the fluorescent protein mScarlet. The plasma membrane of epithelial cells was stained with CellMask Deep Pink (pink). Mucus was stained with jacalin (inexperienced) shortly earlier than an infection. (b) (i) Maximal depth projection photographs present P. aeruginosa biofilm formation inside hours. (ii) Imply biofilms cluster space for 3 AirGels. The bar signifies the vary between the utmost and minimal of the three means. The circle represents the imply of the means. (iii) Proportion of clusters that have been bigger than 100 μm2 in every replicate (black dots). The bars symbolize the imply throughout replicates. Statistics: paired samples Pupil t check with Bonferroni correction (p = 0.051 and p = 0.01). (c) P. aeruginosa quickly colonizes mucus surfaces. Pictures present maximal depth projection of confocal stacks at t = 0 and t = 5.5 h submit–inoculation. The graph quantifies the proportion of mucus not occupied by micro organism. Grey bars present the imply of triplicates. Statistics: paired samples Pupil t check with Bonferroni correction (p = 0.02). The information underlying this determine could be present in S3 Knowledge.


We contaminated AirGels with exponential P. aeruginosa cultures (multiplicity of an infection roughly 10) and imaged biofilm biogenesis on the single–cell degree utilizing confocal spinning disk microscopy. P. aeruginosa already shaped aggregates a couple of hours after inoculation (Figs 3B and S4). Whereas the mucus floor was initially largely devoid of micro organism, half of it was lined by P. aeruginosa multicellular buildings after 5.5 h of an infection (Fig 3C). Bacterial clusters with the identical structure additionally shaped within the absence of jacalin staining, confirming these biofilms don’t kind by labeling artifacts (S5 Fig). To substantiate the pivotal function of mucus in biofilm formation, we contaminated a non–differentiated AirGel that doesn’t produce mucus. Within the absence of a protecting mucus layer, epithelial cells have been extra weak to P. aeruginosa an infection (S6 Fig). Micro organism breached by the epithelial barrier and invaded the underlying ECM. P. aeruginosa didn’t kind 3D multicellular buildings within the ASL. This additional demonstrates the function of mucus hydrogel as a substrate for biofilm formation in differentiated AirGels, and on the similar time highlights its protecting operate.

Our knowledge means that P. aeruginosa kinds biofilms within the airway by attaching to mucus at early levels of an infection. To additional discover the biophysical mechanisms of biofilm formation, we harvested mucus to carry out ex situ visualizations. Nevertheless, we couldn’t observe the formation of P. aeruginosa biofilms on mucus extracted from HBE cultures (S7 Fig and S3 Video). We attribute this discrepancy to perturbations in mucus mechanical integrity when extracted from the epithelium and immersed in buffer. This distinction highlights the significance of investigating microbe–mucus interactions in a local mucosal context such because the one established in AirGels.

To grasp how biofilms kind on native mucus, we subsequently inspected the completely different steps of their formation in AirGels. To nucleate in vitro biofilms, P. aeruginosa cells navigate the floor of abiotic supplies utilizing twitching motility, which promotes the formation of aggregates [47]. Quick imaging of single cells reveals that P. aeruginosa strikes with twitching–like trajectories on the floor of mucus fibers (S4 Video). Single cells aggregated into small clusters inside 2 h of colonization (Fig 3B). These small multicellular clusters subsequently moved alongside mucus fibers to ultimately fuse into bigger biofilms (Fig 4A). This triggered a cascade of cluster fusion occasions that sped up biofilm formation (Fig 4A and S5 Video). We tracked mixture fusion in kymographs highlighting the correlation between mucus and bacterial displacements (Fig 4B). The dimensions of particular person clusters stays roughly fixed throughout movement and fusion, displaying mixture fusion predominates over bacterial progress. After 6 h of aggregation and fusion, dense biofilms are shaped.


Fig 4. Dynamics of biofilm formation on mucus.

(a) Dynamic visualization of P. aeruginosa cluster fusion on mucus (t1 = 6.2 h). The blue and pink arrowheads present 2 aggregates that fuse throughout the first 15 min. The ensuing cluster is indicated by a yellow arrowhead. This new cluster then strikes nearer to the one indicated by the white arrowhead. All photographs are maximal depth projections from z–stacks. (b) Kymographs displaying the displacement of two clusters alongside their axis of movement. The bacterial mixture and underlying mucus traveled collectively at an approximate pace of 0.5 μm/min. (c) Time course visualization of a mucus patch in a colonized by WT P. aeruginosa (not displayed). Reference options and their trajectories are indicated by coloured arrowheads and dashed traces (t1 = 1.2 h). (d) Mucus contraction was quantified by monitoring the distances over time between N = 7 reference options within the mucus patch. The distances have been normalized to the preliminary time level. They lower over time, indicating contraction of the mucus patch. t1, t2, t3 confer with the time factors proven in panel c. Black circle: imply. Black line: normal deviation. The information underlying this determine could be present in S4 Knowledge. WT, wild sort.


We discovered that in biofilm formation, the mucus floor space tends to lower in comparison with an uninfected management (Figs 4C and S8). The distances between landmarks in a mucus patch decreased over time (Fig 4D), demonstrating that mucus contracts throughout biofilm formation. We subsequently hypothesized that mucus contraction accelerates biofilm formation by bringing P. aeruginosa cells nearer to one another. Finally, these cells would turn out to be contiguous to kind small aggregates. By carrying on mucus contraction, these aggregates would then fuse to one another. Since laboratory P. aeruginosa strains can differ considerably from strains infecting human people [48], we contaminated an AirGel with P. aeruginosa remoted from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a CF affected person. This pressure colonized and contracted mucus inside hours, in a way just like PAO1 (S9 Fig and S6 Video). To substantiate the bodily contraction mechanism, we investigated how P. aeruginosa might restructure mucus throughout attachment and colonization.

P. aeruginosa kinds biofilms on mucus utilizing T4P

We envisioned 2 mechanisms for micro organism–induced mucus deformations: degradation or direct mechanical contraction. P. aeruginosa secretes mucinases able to degrading gel–forming mucins [49]. Enzymatic mucus degradation might launch polymers that generate entropic depletion forces selling bacterial aggregation or that generate osmotic forces compressing mucus [14,50]. To check whether or not mucus degradation might drive contraction, we colonized AirGels with a mutant within the sort II secretion system locus xcp that’s crucial for mucin utilization [49,51]. The Δxcp mutant nonetheless shaped biofilms just like wild sort (WT), ruling out the speculation of polymer–induced forces driving the formation of multicellular buildings (Fig 5A).


Fig 5. Sort IV pili retraction promotes mucus contraction.

(a) Biofilm formation of PAO1 mutants unable to degrade mucus or to generate power (t = 5.5 h). Each the Δxcp mutant (missing sort II secretion system crucial for secretion of mucinases) and the ΔfliC mutant (missing flagella) kind biofilms just like WT. In distinction, the ΔpilA mutant missing T4P was unable to kind biofilms in AirGels. (b) Finite factor simulations of mucus deformation throughout floor contraction. (i) Schematic illustration of P. aeruginosa making use of contractile power on mucus by retracting T4P. (ii) Finite factor simulation of deformation of a mucus cylinder at relaxation (high) and below energetic floor stress (backside). Colormap point out displacement of floor parts. (iii) Relative mucus space as a operate of floor contractile modulus. Because the floor contractile modulus will increase, the relative space of mucus decreases. (c) T4P retraction is important for biofilm formation. Pictures evaluate biofilms from WT P. aeruginosa and from the ΔpilT mutant unable to retract T4P (t = 5.5 h). ΔpilT cluster space and share of huge clusters is considerably smaller than WT (N = 3). Statistics: unbiased samples Pupil t check with Bonferroni correction (p = 0.035 and p = 0.015). (d) Mucus doesn’t rearrange throughout ΔpilT colonization (t = 5.5 h). A lot of the mucus floor stays freed from micro organism throughout ΔpilT colonization (N = 3). Statistics: unbiased samples Pupil t check with Bonferroni correction (p = 0.01). The information underlying this determine could be present in S5 Knowledge. WT, wild sort.


Might P. aeruginosa transform mucus by instantly and actively making use of power on the floor? P. aeruginosa can generate extracellular forces utilizing flagella and T4P, motorized filaments that additionally play a job throughout in vitro biofilm biogenesis. As well as, T4P and flagella mediate single–cell interactions with mucins [12,15,5254]. To research their features within the context of biofilm formation on mucus, we contaminated AirGels with P. aeruginosa mutants missing flagella (ΔfliC) and T4P (ΔpilA). The ΔfliC mutant shaped biofilms that have been indistinguishable from WT (Fig 5A). In contrast, ΔpilA cells didn’t kind multicellular buildings, indicating T4P play a job in mucus–related biofilm formation. Since T4P could bind to glycans current on mucins [53,54], weaker cell attachment to mucus might trigger a lower in aggregation of ΔpilA. But, colocalization reveals that the ΔpilA mutant remains to be in a position to connect effectively to mucus (S10 Fig and S7 Video). We subsequently envisioned a mechanism the place T4P generate retractile forces that contract mucus from the floor, in the end rushing up P. aeruginosa aggregation and cluster fusion.

To bodily discover this state of affairs, we ran nonlinear finite factor simulations whereby mucus is handled as a hyperelastic materials [55]. The mechanical motion of P. aeruginosa T4P on the mucus floor is taken into account by the introduction of an energetic floor stress. The simulations recapitulated the experimental observations of mucus hydrogel contraction throughout P. aeruginosa colonization (Fig 5B). Simulations additionally predict that the regular–state mucus space decreases with the magnitude of the floor contractile modulus. This implies that the extra T4P retract, the extra P. aeruginosa compresses mucus. To experimentally validate this mannequin, we visualized AirGels colonization by a ΔpilT mutant that produces T4P that can’t retract, mimicking situations of zero contractile modulus. P. aeruginosa ΔpilT might nonetheless affiliate with mucus and kind a couple of small clusters, however clearly did not kind mucus–related biofilms to the identical extent as WT (Fig 5C and 5D), which was coherent with simulations. These outcomes present that T4P retraction is important for biofilm formation on mucus and is in keeping with a state of affairs the place retraction compresses the mucus substrate.

To additional assist the floor contraction mannequin, we examined the prediction that deformations improve additional with floor contractility. We imaged AirGel colonization by the hyperpiliated P. aeruginosa mutant ΔpilH, whose T4P retraction frequency is roughly twice the considered one of WT (S11 Fig). ΔpilH shaped biofilms extra quickly than WT: we noticed dense aggregates as early as 2 h, whereas we solely did after 4 h for WT (Fig 6A and 6B). As well as, ΔpilH induced extra fast mucus contraction than WT (Fig 6C and S8 and S9 Movies), in keeping with simulations. After 5.5 h, WT and ΔpilH biofilms had related morphologies and measurement, suggesting biofilm fusion reaches a bodily restrict most certainly on account of packing on the mucus floor. To manage that the noticed variations didn’t come up from progress price variation between the strains, we quantified colony–forming items (CFUs) of WT, ΔpilT, and ΔpilH earlier than an infection and after 5 h of progress on the airway mucosa (S3 Desk). All strains grew at indistinguishable charges.


Fig 6. Elevated T4P retraction accelerates biofilm formation and mucus contraction.

(a) Elevated T4P exercise accelerates biofilm formation on mucus. Comparability of biofilm formation by the ΔpilH mutant with hyperactive T4P vs. WT, at t = 2 h and t = 5.5 h after inoculation. ΔpilH already kinds small biofilms after 2 h. (b) (i) Kinetics of biofilm measurement for WT, ΔpilT, and ΔpilH. For every pressure, we contaminated 3 AirGels from a wholesome donor. Bars symbolize the vary between the utmost and minimal of the means from triplicates, circles symbolize the general imply. (ii) Comparability of share of huge clusters for WT, ΔpilT, and ΔpilH, over time. Statistics: one–means ANOVA for every time level, adopted by a submit hoc Tukey check if the null speculation was rejected. At t = 4 h, the variations between WT and ΔpilH (p = 0.003) and between ΔpilH and ΔpilT (p = 0.001) have been important. At t = 5.5 h, the variations between WT and ΔpilT (p = 0.02) and between ΔpilH and ΔpilT (p = 0.001) have been important. (c) ΔpilH dramatically contracts mucus. (i) Timelapse photographs displaying an occasion of mucus contraction by ΔpilH. (ii) Orthogonal views of the micro organism–lined mucus cluster at t1 + 85 min, displaying that PAO1 ΔpilH cells encompass mucus. (iii) Relative mucus space modifications measured throughout 30 min for WT and ΔpilH; since ΔpilH begins aggregating and transforming mucus sooner than WT, the beginning factors of the recording differed (ΔpilH: 2.5 h, WT: 6.2 h, unfavorable management: 8.1 h). Pictures are maximal depth projections of z–stacks all through the determine apart from the orthogonal projection in H. The information underlying this determine could be present in S6 Knowledge. WT, wild sort.


General, our outcomes assist a mannequin the place P. aeruginosa contracts the floor of mucus by energetic T4P retraction. Single cells initially twitch on mucus to kind small aggregates. The static mixture collectives generate forces from T4P which might be enough to deform their substrate, driving massive–scale mucus contraction. By contracting, mucus brings aggregates nearer. They ultimately fuse and kind biofilms (Fig 7).


Fig 7. Proposed mannequin for the formation of mucus–related biofilms by P. aeruginosa.

(i) Single bacterial cells connect to mucus. (ii) P. aeruginosa navigates the mucus floor utilizing T4P–dependent twitching motility. (iii) T4P retraction domestically contracts mucus. (iv) Floor exploration promotes encounters between single cells. This initiates aggregation and the formation of small clusters. These clusters stay static on mucus. As single cells in aggregates use T4P to tug on and contract mucus, they generate floor contractile forces. (v) Collective retraction of T4P from many cells compacts bacterial aggregates. (vi) Nonetheless below the motion of retractile T4P forces, aggregates additional contract mucus to provoke fusion into biofilms.



Most investigations of host–pathogen interactions have to this point primarily relied on animal fashions and immortalized cell traces. Their limitations have been an impediment to ascertain a holistic understanding of infections. By growing AirGels, we offer the neighborhood with a 3D airway an infection mannequin that expresses related cell varieties, secretes mucus, and is suitable with excessive–decision imaging in presence of an ALI. Because of this, AirGels have a powerful potential in bridging the hole between in vivo and in vitro investigations of airway infections. For instance, since AirGels are modular, we envision that engineering refinements might enhance their suitability as an an infection mannequin for a variety of organisms and incorporation of immune cells. AirGel benchmarking additionally allowed us to establish how necessary physiological parameters akin to mucociliary clearance are topic to variability and robust dependencies on exterior components. AirGels thus present a helpful new software to carry out complete and mechanistic research of the dependence of airway physiology on components akin to temperature, humidity, medication, and chemical stressors.

By leveraging AirGels, we discovered that P. aeruginosa kinds biofilms through an energetic mechanism of mucus transforming. P. aeruginosa attaches to mucus and subsequently makes use of T4P to generate floor contractile forces. Because of this, the mucus gel contracts, successfully lowering its space and bringing mucus–certain micro organism nearer to one another. Though the classical view of airway infections associates biofilms with continual infections and planktonic cells with acute infections, current work has demonstrated the coexistence of those bacterial existence in sputum samples from each acutely and chronically contaminated sufferers [7]. Our observations of early biofilm formation in AirGels from planktonic cells is subsequently in keeping with these medical observations. Nevertheless, in vitro, the impact of mucus on biofilm formation is determined by the experimental mannequin: whereas native mucins in answer inhibit biofilm formation [1517], research with full mucus or business mucins as a substitute report elevated aggregation [11,12,14]. This demonstrates that mucus–pathogen interactions differ dramatically relying on the mannequin system used, thereby highlighting the significance of rigorously reproducing and controlling related parameters in vitro.

Throughout P. aeruginosa infections, the planktonic inhabitants tends to have stronger cytotoxicity in direction of the host in comparison with the biofilm inhabitants [6]. Due to this fact, enhancing biofilm formation would cut back the pathogenic energy of P. aeruginosa populations. Forming biofilms early on might nonetheless present different health benefits to P. aeruginosa within the non–hospitable airway surroundings. For instance, bacterial aggregation might cut back P. aeruginosa’s susceptibility to neutrophils which might be quickly recruited to the mucosal floor throughout an infection [56,57]. On the similar time, forming biofilms will increase P. aeruginosa tolerance to antibiotic remedy and promotes the emergence of resistant mutants [58]. There may be nonetheless an upside for the host: mucus adsorbs a big proportion of the planktonic P. aeruginosa, conserving them away from the epithelium. Our outcomes subsequently spotlight the duality of mucus: defending the airway epithelium from acute infections, whereas offering a fertile floor for biofilm formation that favors continual infections.

T4P play a number of features throughout biofilm formation in lots of species. In P. aeruginosa, successive T4P extension and retraction energy twitching motility on surfaces [59,60]. This enables freshly hooked up cells to discover the surroundings, stimulating cell–cell encounters that nucleate aggregation [60]. These microcolonies in the end mature into full biofilms. This mannequin nonetheless falls brief on tender surfaces. Hydrogels with low stiffness restrict the transmission of T4P traction power to the floor thereby impairing twitching motility, however on the similar time nonetheless allow biofilm formation [61]. Mucus contractions induced by P. aeruginosa present that T4P–generated forces can transform tender supplies as properly. Our mannequin presents similarities with the mechanisms by which Neisseria meningitis kinds and maintains microcolonies. N. meningitis use T4P to take care of biofilm cohesion, the place single cells join to 1 one other through pili–pili interactions. Their retraction is important to the cohesion of the neighborhood [62,63]. In that sense, T4P retraction promoted the emergence of contractile forces on the scale of the multicellular construction, thereby enhancing its cohesion. Along with highlighting a brand new mode of biofilm formation, this mechanism offers further proof that micro organism can mechanically transform the host microenvironment [64].

By emulating the mechanical surroundings skilled by airway pathogens throughout mucosal colonization, now we have recognized a brand new mechanism by which micro organism kind biofilms. This demonstrated that different approaches that leverage engineered microenvironments will assist us higher comprehend bacterial physiology in lifelike an infection contexts. This might in the end permit the invention of ignored elements of infections. As well as, it has the potential to offer the neighborhood with new instruments and information to develop novel therapeutic methods in opposition to antibiotic–resistant infections.

Supplies and strategies

AirGel chip fabrication

PDMS chip.

PDMS (Sylgard 184, Dow Corning) was casted on the mould and cured at 60°C for about 1 h and 30 min. We then used a scalpel to chop out every chip individually and punctiliously take away it from the mould. In parallel, we ready PDMS rods to sample the lumens in keeping with a printed protocol [34]. In brief, we crammed gauge 14 needles (Sterican 2.1 × 80 mm, B. Braun) with PDMS and cured it as described above. We then used pliers to interrupt the needles and extract the PDMS rods; their diameter was roughly 1.6 mm (i.e., internal diameter of the needle). We used a scalpel to chop them into 8–mm lengthy items. Then, PDMS chips and rods have been briefly immersed in isopropanol, left to dry, and cleaned utilizing tape. Afterwards, the rods have been inserted into the chips utilizing tweezers; the assembled gadgets have been subsequently autoclaved. They have been then plasma bonded to both glass–backside dishes or glass–backside 6–properly plates (1.5 coverslip, glass diameter 20 mm, MatTek) in a ZEPTO plasma cleaner (Diener digital). Word that the chips contained skinny PDMS membranes on the backside of their inlet reservoirs (obtained owing to a shallow cavity within the 3D printed mould), in order that the rod was not in direct contact with the underlying coverslip. Lastly, we uncovered the chips to 2 cycles of UV sterilization in a biosafety cupboard.

Extracellular matrix.

All the next steps have been carried out in a biosafety cupboard to take care of sterility. We handled the chips internal surfaces to advertise adhesion of the gel following a printed technique [35]. This consisted in a ten min publicity to 2% polyethyleneimine (Sigma–Aldrich) adopted by a 30 min remedy with 0.4% glutaraldehyde (Electron Microscopy Sciences) for 30 min. The chips have been then rinsed as soon as with Milli–Q water (Merck Millipore). Afterwards, the ECM hydrogel was ready on ice. We first neutralized excessive–density rat tail sort I collagen (roughly 10 mg/ml, Corning) to a last focus of 8 mg/ml. To do that, we blended 30 μl 10× PBS, 5.4 μl NaOH 1 M, 29.6 μl Milli–Q water, and 235 μl collagen with a constructive displacement pipette (Gilson). The neutralized collagen was then blended with excessive–focus progress issue lowered Matrigel (roughly 21 mg/ml, Corning) in a 75:25 ratio (100 μl Matrigel for 300 μl of neutralized collagen). The ensuing gel was loaded into every chip from the basal entry ports and positioned in a humidified cell tradition incubator (set to 37°C, 5% CO2) throughout 20 min to ensure that polymerization to happen. Then, we pulled the rods out of the chips with tweezers, thereby shaping the lumen [34]. The ultimate step consisted in chemically crosslinking the collagen to strengthen it. We adopted a printed protocol [65]: we first ready a 0.6 M answer of N–(3–dimethylaminopropyl)–N′–ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC, Life Applied sciences) and a 0.15 M answer of N–hydroxysuccinimide (NHS, Sigma–Aldrich). Then, we blended these options in a 1:1 ratio and loaded 25 μl into every lumen. We left them at room temperature for five min earlier than aspirating the crosslinking reagents. We then soaked the chips in Milli–Q water (apical and basal sides) in a single day, at room temperature. Lastly, we changed Milli–Q water with PneumaCult–Ex Plus medium (Stemcell Applied sciences) at the least 1 day earlier than loading any cells within the chips, and saved the chips in a cell tradition incubator.

Cell tradition


All steps have been carried out at room temperature. First, differentiated cells in AirGels have been mounted with both 4% paraformaldehyde (PFA, Electron Microscopy Sciences) or methacarn, after we wished to raised protect extracellular mucus. Methacarn was made recent earlier than each use as follows: 1 half glacial acetic acid (Sigma–Aldrich), 3 elements chloroform (PanReac AppliChem), 6 elements anhydrous methanol (Sigma–Aldrich). Whatever the chemical used, the fixation step lasted for 15 min. PFA–mounted cells have been then permeabilized with a 0.2% Triton X–100 answer (VWR Life Science) for 20 min. Then, we uncovered all cells (i.e., PFA–and methacarn–mounted) to a blocking answer consisting of 1% bovine serum albumin (Sigma–Aldrich) throughout 45 min. Afterwards, we added options of major antibodies to every AirGel and incubated them for 1 h. In case of PFA–mounted cells, we used rabbit anti–MUC5AC (1:100, Abcam) and mouse anti–acetylated alpha tubulin (1:250, Sigma–Aldrich); for methacarn–mounted cells proven in Fig 2A, we used the identical anti–MUC5AC, along with rabbit anti–MUC5B (1:100, Sigma–Aldrich); for methacarn–mounted cells proven in S2 Fig, we changed the rabbit anti–MUC5AC antibody with mouse anti–MUC5AC (1:100, Sigma–Aldrich). After incubation with the first antibodies, we labeled the samples with secondary antibodies throughout 1 h in the dead of night. Extra particularly, we used goat anti–rabbit IgG H&L Alexa Fluor 488 (1:200, Abcam) and goat anti–mouse IgG H&L Alexa Fluor 594 (1:200, Thermo Fisher). Lastly, nuclei have been counterstained for 10 min with DAPI (1:1,000, Sigma–Aldrich); as well as, in PFA–mounted cells, actin was stained with Phalloidin Atto 655 (1:40, Sigma–Aldrich) for 10 min.


To picture AirGels at low magnification (Fig 1C and 1D), we used a Nikon TiE epifluorescence microscope outfitted with a Hamamatsu ORCA Flash 4 digital camera and both a ten× goal with N.A. of 0.25 or a 4× goal with N.A. of 0.1. For full channel cross–sectional imaging (Fig 1E), we used a Zeiss Lightsheet Z1 twin–sided SPIM. It was outfitted with PCO Edge 5.5 cameras and a 5× magnification goal with N.A. of 0.16. All the opposite visualizations have been acquired with a Nikon Eclipse Ti2–E inverted microscope coupled with a Yokogawa CSU W2 confocal spinning disk unit and outfitted with a Prime 95B sCMOS digital camera (Photometrics). We both used a 20× water immersion goal with N.A. of 0.95 or a 40× water immersion goal with N.A. of 1.15. We used Imaris (Bitplane) for 3D rendering of lightsheet z–stack photos and Fiji for the show of all the opposite photographs [66].

Single–cell RNA–seq

Pattern processing and sequencing.

Three AirGels differentiated for 35 days have been pooled to carry out scRNA–seq. The AirGels have been washed 3 instances with PBS from the apical and basal sides earlier than rigorously detaching the PDMS chip from the dish. Epithelia have been eliminated along with their ECM from the chip utilizing forceps and positioned in dissociation buffer (300 μl Protease from Bacillus Licheniformis (100 mg/ml, Sigma), 3 μl DNase I (10 mg/ml, Roche), 30 μl EDTA (0.5 M, Sigma), 30 μl EGTA (0.5 M, BioWorld), 237 μl sterile PBS, and 900 μl Accumax (Brunschwig)). Incubation was carried out for 45 min at 37°C apart from centrifugation and pipetting steps which have been carried out at room temperature. Initially, the piece of gel and hooked up cells was disrupted by pipetting up and down 50 instances each 5 min with a 200 μl filtered pipette tip. After the primary 20 min of incubation, the cells have been largely indifferent from the gel and the cell suspension was centrifuged for five min at 400× g, after which the supernatant was eliminated. The residual quantity (roughly 20 μl) was pipetted up and down 50 instances each 5 min to disrupt mobile aggregates, this time with a ten μl filtered pipette tip. Lastly, the cell suspension of all 3 chips was mixed and topped as much as 1 ml with pre–cooled 10% BSA (Sigma–Aldrich) in PBS. From this level, all steps have been carried out on ice or at 4°C. The cells have been centrifuged for 10 min at 400× g. The supernatant was rigorously eliminated and the cells have been resuspended in 0.04% molecular grade BSA in PBS and filtered by a 40 μm Flowmi cell strainer (Bel–Artwork). The cell suspension was centrifuged as soon as extra at 400× g for 10 min. The supernatant was eliminated and the cells have been resuspended in 50 μl 0.04% molecular grade BSA in PBS. The cell depend was decided and the cells have been instantly taken to the sequencing facility at EPFL (GECF).

HBE cells have been then washed as soon as in PBS 10% BSA after which as soon as in PBS 0.04% BSA. After filtration by a 40 μm Flowmi strainer, cells have been resuspended in PBS 0.04% BSA, checked for absence of great doublets or aggregates, and loaded right into a Chromium Single Cell Controller (10× Genomics) in a chip along with beads, grasp combine reagents (containing RT enzyme and poly–dt RT primers), and oil to generate single–cell–containing droplets. Single–cell Gene Expression libraries have been then ready utilizing Chromium Single Cell 3’ Library & Gel Bead Equipment v3.1 (PN–1000268) following the producer’s instruction (protocol CG000315 Rev C). High quality management was carried out with a TapeStation 4200 (Agilent) and QuBit dsDNA excessive sensitivity assay (Thermo) following producer’s directions. With this process, the cDNAs from distinct droplets harbor a definite and distinctive 10× “cell barcode.”

Sequencing libraries have been processed utilizing an Illumina HiSeq 4000 paired–finish Stream Cell and sequenced utilizing learn lengths of 28 nt for read1 and 91 nt for read2, at a depth of ca 60k reads/cell.

scRNA–seq evaluation.

The Cell Ranger Single Cell Software program Suite v6.1.1 was used to carry out pattern demultiplexing, barcode processing, and three′ gene counting utilizing 10× Genomics customized annotation of human genome meeting GRCh38 [67]. Depend matrices have been additional processed with Seurat (model 4.1.0) [68]. All cells with lower than 1,000 detected genes per cell have been filtered out. Furthermore, cells with greater than 25% reads mapping to mitochondrial genes have been eliminated yielding 8,651 cells passing QC. After filtering, knowledge have been default normalized and the two,000 most variable genes recognized. The expression ranges of those genes have been scaled earlier than performing PCA. The next covariates have been regressed out: variety of UMIs and p.c of mitochondrial reads Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP) dimensionality discount was carried out utilizing the primary 25 dimensions of the PCA and determination set to 0.175. Cell subsets have been recognized primarily based on transcriptional signatures beforehand recognized by Plasschaert, Žilionis and colleagues [40]. One subset was comprised of cells with a shared signature between “Ciliated” and “Secretory” cells, with a complete of 640 cells, indicative of doublets and have been thus eliminated. The rest cells, numbering 8,011 have been re–embedded as described above (decision = 0.15). GO evaluation was carried out for differentially up–regulated genes per cluster utilizing TopGO [69].

Quantification of mucociliary clearance

Like for CBF quantification, we loaded a 1:500 answer of two μm FluoSpheres within the lumen of AirGels (or on the floor of Transwells, for S3 Fig). We instantly visualized them with the spinning disk confocal microscope. We recorded 10 s movies at a price of 10 frames per second. Then, we tracked the trajectory of particular person beads with the Fiji plugin TrackMate [70,71], utilizing the constructed–in easy LAP tracker. We wrote a script in a Jupyter Pocket book to compute the speed (observe displacement over observe length) of every particle [72].

Bacterial strains, plasmids, and tradition situations

We used P. aeruginosa PAO1 (WT or mutants, listed in S1 Desk) for all of the an infection experiments. To acquire the medical pressure AP1889, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a CF affected person was despatched to the routine lab of the Institute of Medical Microbiology in Zurich, Switzerland. The medical pattern was cultured on completely different media varieties and P. aeruginosa was remoted from a selective Mac Conkey agar (Biomérieux, France) after incubation for 18 h at 37°C. Species identification was carried out by MALDI–TOF MS biotyper (Bruker Daltonics, Germany) as described elsewhere [73]. No consent from the ethics committee was required for the medical specimen as solely anonymized well being–associated knowledge was used. Most strains have been made to constitutively categorical the fluorescent protein mScarlet following a printed protocol utilizing the plasmids listed in S2 Desk [74]. The spine plasmid pUC18t–Mini Tn7 with gentamycin resistance was bought from Addgene and remoted from E. coli XL10 Gold by GeneJET Plasmid Miniprep Equipment (Thermo Fisher). The remoted plasmid was digested with the restriction enzymes HindIII and BamHI. The Ptet promoter was amplified by PCR utilizing P. aeruginosa PAO1 genomic DNA and the mScarlet gene was amplified from a preexisting plasmid. The Ptet promoter and mScarlet was then fused through Fusion PCR by overlapping extension. The ensuing prolonged product was digested with HindIII and BamHI, after which ligated to the digested pUC18t–MiniTn7 Gm spine. Since this plasmid included a gentamycin resistance cassette, we grew the fluorescent PAO1 strains in a single day in LB medium with 30 μg/ml gentamycin. The subsequent morning, we diluted the stationary cultures 1:1,000 in plain LB and allow them to develop 3 to 4 h earlier than infecting AirGels.

An infection of AirGels

The evening earlier than an infection, AirGels have been stained with the plasma membrane dye CellMask Deep Pink (Life Applied sciences). Apart from the an infection assay proven in Fig 3A and S2 Video, which was carried out in a CF AirGels, all infections have been run with cells from wholesome donors. The dye was diluted to five μg/ml and loaded in each the apical and basal compartments. The subsequent morning, the lumen was once more uncovered to air for 3 to 4 h. Mucus was stained with jacalin as described above, and all luminal fluid was then aspirated. Lastly, we contaminated AirGels with mScarlet P. aeruginosa. We measured the optical density of our exponential bacterial cultures and centrifuged them for two to three min at 5,000 rpm. We discarded the supernatant and resuspended the pellet in D–PBS to succeed in an optical density worth of roughly 3. We then loaded 0.5 μl of bacterial tradition within the lumen of AirGels (this small quantity allowed for ALI upkeep). The ensuing multiplicity of an infection was roughly 10 (roughly 106 micro organism for about 105 airway cells). For the an infection proven in Fig 3A, we began with a stationary P. aeruginosa tradition that we diluted in D–PBS to an optical density of roughly 0.035. We then dipped a sterile toothpick within the tradition and frivolously touched the inlet of an AirGel with it to be able to deposit micro organism whereas sustaining the ALI. This second technique could mechanically compromise the epithelium with the toothpick; we subsequently opted for the primary one in most experiments.

The chips have been then positioned in an UNO–T–H–CO2 stage–high incubator (Okolab) for temperature, humidity, and CO2 management. The surroundings was maintained at 37°C and 5% CO2 and related to a bottle of Milli–Q water for humidification. Since condensation ceaselessly seems on the PDMS chip throughout imaging, we positioned items of Kimtech Science Kimwipes (Kimberly–Clark Skilled) within the inlet ports of AirGels; this prevented dripping water from disrupting the ALI situations. We visualized the an infection progress over time with the aforementioned spinning disk confocal microscope. For WT, ΔpilT, and ΔpilH, we repeated the infections to succeed in N = 3 replicates per situation. The AirGels for all 3 replicates have been all made out of the identical wholesome donor and have been between 33– and 38–day–outdated on the time of an infection.

Biofilm picture acquisition and evaluation

We acquired z–stack of contaminated AirGels over a 35–μm deep vary at completely different time factors (t = 0 h, 2 h, 4 h, and 5.5 h ± 0.5 h). All of the picture evaluation steps have been achieved in Jupyter Notebooks [72].

For the reason that AirGel floor is curved, for all subsequent steps, we projected photographs in 2D utilizing the maximal depth projection software in Fiji to be able to facilitate downstream evaluation. We began by quantifying the sizes of bacterial clusters. First, we visually inspected the photographs: if there have been massive depth variations (e.g., in case of a mixture of dim single cells and brilliant clusters), we saturated brilliant pixels to 1.5 instances the imply depth of the image. We then segmented the photographs utilizing Otsu thresholding (from the “opencv” Python bundle [75], model and visually assessed the consequence. Within the uncommon instances the place the segmentation was not deemed passable (i.e., if some options weren’t detected correctly or if there was an excessive amount of noise), a easy threshold was manually chosen. The images have been then closed and filtered; extra particularly, we eliminated any object smaller than roughly 6 μm2 (20 pixels), which roughly corresponds to the realm of a single cell. We then obtained the realm of every cluster utilizing the operate “regionprops” (“scikit–mage” Python bundle [76], model 0.19.2), which calculates properties of segmented objects in binary photos. We calculated the imply cluster space for every replicate; then, for every situation, we plotted the utmost, minimal, and imply of the means (e.g., Fig 3B). We additionally computed and plotted the proportion of aggregates bigger than 100 μm2 (S4 Fig).

We then quantified colocalization between mucus and micro organism. The segmentation and filtration of mucus photos was an identical as for bacterial clusters. Then, utilizing the logical “&” operate, we recognized the pixels that have been frequent between the binary photos from the bacterial and mucus channels. With “regionprops,” we obtained the areas of those frequent zones and we normalized them to the entire space of mucus. Thus, we might discover the proportion of mucus that was lined in micro organism. We lastly calculated the proportion of mucus devoid of micro organism as follows: 1 –(proportion of mucus lined in micro organism).

To quantify the contraction of a patch of mucus, we first canceled the consequences of drift by registering the photographs in Fiji utilizing the “Right 3D drift” plugin. We then manually tracked the displacement of N = 7 reference options with the Fiji plugin “Guide Monitoring.” We loaded the trajectories in a Jupyter Pocket book and calculated the distances between every pair of positions over time. We lastly normalized the ensuing knowledge to the preliminary distances and plotted them, together with the imply and normal deviation at every time level (Fig 4D).

Lastly, we additionally measured mucus shrinkage over time for WT, ΔpilH, and an uninfected management AirGel. To take action, we used photographs from 30 min timelapses (the start line of the timelapses differed: 6 h 10 min for WT, 2 h 30 min for ΔpilH, and eight h 5 min for the unfavorable management). We segmented and quantified mucus areas as described above for every time level, and normalized it to the preliminary space (Fig 6C and S8 Video).

iSCAT–primarily based quantification of sort IV pili retraction frequency

P. aeruginosa have been grown as beforehand described [77]. Briefly, an in a single day tradition was obtained from a single colony and grown in LB at 37°C with 290 rpm shaking. The in a single day tradition was diluted 1:500 or 1:1,000 and grown for two to three h to acquire a mid–exponential part tradition. For floor–grown cells, 100 μl of the mid–exponential part cell suspension have been plated on LB 1% agarose, grown for 3 h at 37°C and harvested in 500 μl LB by mild scraping. Cells have been diluted to OD600 0.02 to 0.05 previous to visualization. Each liquid–and stable–grown cells have been both loaded on 500 μm × 140 μm PDMS microchannels or in 6 mm PDMS gaskets. Cells sticking to the floor have been visualized with out circulate with iSCAT and flicks have been recorded at 10 fps for both 2 min, 1 min, or 30 s. Uncooked iSCAT photographs have been processed as described beforehand [59,77]. Particular person films have been manually analyzed utilizing Fiji [66] by counting the entire variety of TFP in every cell in addition to the variety of TFP retractions represented by tensed TFP. The residence time of every cell on the coverslip was additionally recorded. For every cell, we computed the retraction frequency by dividing the entire variety of retractions by the residence time of the cell on the coverslip. Lastly, we computed a bootstrap median retraction frequency and 95% confidence interval by pooling the info obtained by all 2 to three organic replicates. Knowledge evaluation was carried out utilizing Matlab R2020a (Mathworks).

Statistical evaluation

All statistical assessments have been run in Python utilizing Jupyter Notebooks [72]. Impartial or paired–samples Pupil t assessments have been carried out with Bonferroni correction utilizing the operate “add_stat_annotation” from the statannot bundle [78] (model 0.2.3). One–means ANOVAs have been run utilizing the operate “f_oneway” within the “stats” module from SciPy [79] (model 1.7.3). When the ANOVA consequence rejected the null speculation, we adopted up with a submit hoc Tukey check utilizing “stats.multicomp.pairwise_tukeyhsd” from the “statsmodels” module [80].

Computational mannequin of mucus transforming by T4P

We refer the reader to our earlier work [55,81] for the overall principle on the kinematics of the floor and the quantity of a 3D tender physique, specializing in cell–laden microtissues. Particular issues on the implementation of this work are launched within the following formulations.

1. Kinematics

Let V be a set reference configuration of a continuum physique ℬ. We use the notation χ: V→ℝ3 for the deformation of physique ℬ. A movement χ is the vector discipline of the mapping x = χ(X), of a cloth level within the reference configuration XV to a place within the deformed configuration xv. The kinematics of a cloth level are described by the next:
the place u(X, t) is the displacement vector discipline within the spatial description. The kinematics of an infinitesimal bulk factor are described by the next:
the place F(X, t) and F−1(x, t) are the deformation gradient and inverse deformation gradient, respectively. Word that J(X, t) = dv/dV= det F(X, t) is the Jacobian determinant defining the ratio of a quantity factor between materials and spatial configuration.

A movement of an arbitrary differential vector factor could be mapped by the deformation gradient F. Nevertheless, a unit regular vector N within the reference configuration can’t be reworked right into a unit regular vector n within the present configuration through the deformation gradient [82], motivating us to develop the kinematics of an infinitesimal floor factor [83]. Word that we make the most of to indicate the floor amount bounded by outer floor denoted as ∂Ω0.
the place and are the deformation gradient and inverse deformation gradient, respectively. Word that and are the blended floor unit tensors, the place I and i are the unit tensors, and N and n are the outward unit regular vectors, in reference and present configuration, respectively. Word that is the Jacobian determinant defining the ratio of an space factor between materials and spatial configuration.

3. Weak kind

For the finite factor implementation, we have to get hold of the weak kind for our downside. By including the constraint that the primary variation of the entire potential power have to be equal to zero δW(χ) = 0, we get hold of a weak kind assertion as
the place δu is the admissible deformation discipline.

We employed the open–supply platform FEniCS [85], to implement the finite factor simulation. We used the Scalable Nonlinear Equations Solvers (SNES) from the open–supply toolkit PETSc [86], which offers numerical computations of a Newton–sort iterative process to unravel the nonlinear variational downside. Word that the worth of γ must be ramped from zero to its prescribed worth for numerical stability as the issue is extremely nonlinear.

4. Constitutive relations

To narrate the energetic stress with deformation, we should specialize our selection for the pressure energies within the bulk and on the floor. For the deformation of compressible tissue, we contemplate a passive bulk power Ψp that captures the everlasting elasticity of the collagen community, and for the contribution of bacterium contractility, we will contemplate the energetic floor power that accounts for the motion of the bacterium on the floor of mucus tissue.

5. Finite factor simulation

The reference (undeformed) state corresponds to a state the place the energetic contractile moduli are set to zero. Experimentally, this reference state corresponds to the preliminary state of the mucus proper after the blending of mucus and bacterium and earlier than the appliance of forces by encapsulated bacterium. The reference configuration for the finite factor simulations represents the geometry proven in Fig 5B. The whole floor is allowed to actively contract by growing the floor contractile modulus as much as an equilibrium worth. The ultimate (deformed) state is outlined when the floor contractile moduli γ reaches its prescribed worth, and no exterior hundreds are utilized. Experimentally, this corresponds to the equilibrium state of the mucus. The ultimate configurations symbolize the equilibrium states.

Supporting data

S11 Fig. T4P retraction frequency will increase throughout floor contact and is constitutively excessive in a pilH deletion mutant.

T4P retraction charges have been measured by interferometric scattering (iSCAT) microscopy, which permits for label–free T4P visualization [59]. To forestall cells from swimming away through the iSCAT measurements, a flagellum–much less ΔfliC mutant was used as background pressure. This pressure was both grown in liquid or preadapted to tradition on a stable floor for 3 h. Black circles and bars point out the bootstrap median and 95% confidence interval of the medians, respectively.



S8 Video. Compilation of 30 min time–lapses displaying jacalin–labeled mucus (inexperienced) in several situations: first, with none micro organism, then uncovered to a WT P. aeruginosa pressure (orange) and eventually uncovered to a hyperpiliated ΔpilH mutant.

Since ΔpilH begins aggregating and transforming mucus sooner than WT, the beginning factors of the recording differed (ΔpilH: 2 h 30 min, WT: 6 h 10 min, unfavorable management: 8 h 5 min).



S9 Video. Time–lapse spinning disk confocal micrographs of the hyperpiliated P. aeruginosa ΔpilH mutant (orange) rearranging jacalin–labeled mucus (inexperienced).

Dramatic transforming of the mucus begins as early as 1.5 h submit–inoculation, leading to quite a few mucus–related aggregates.





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