By using the xCELLigence instrument to monitor the attachment and growth of Acinetobacter baumannii in real-time, University of South Florida graduate student Jessie Adams has discovered key genes/proteins that enable this pathogen to persist in the surface-attached biofilm-state. On the basis of the novelty and impact of this work, which Adams will present at the American Society of Microbiology conference on Biofilms (October 7-11 in Washington DC), she was selected as the sole recipient of the ACEA Biosciences Travel Award for Spring 2018.
A major cause of hospital-acquired wound related and respiratory infections, Acinetobacter baumannii displays broad antibiotic resistance and is currently listed as #1 on the World Health Organization’s list of critical pathogens. In the majority of A. baumannii infections the bacterium grows in a biofilm state, where the cells are enmeshed in an extensive network of secreted polymeric molecules that afford the pathogen chemical and physical protection. Despite the clinical importance of A. baumannii biofilm infections, little has been known about the genes that make the biofilm lifestyle possible.
Ms. Adams has used a transposon library to generate a vast array of A. baumannii mutants, the attachment and growth kinetics of which she has quantified using the automated, label-free xCELLigence assay. Adams stated that the xCELLigence instrument is playing “a major role in my research, coupling the standard endpoint biofilm assay (crystal violet staining) with a real-time analysis of the attachment of the lead mutants that show distinct phenotypes. For the data to be presented at this conference, over 60 mutants have already been screened.” She went on to say “We will be continuing our screen and utilizing this invaluable assay to screen over 300 mutants to get a true understanding of the genes responsible for regulating biofilm formation in A. baumannii. Without the xCELLigence system, this project would not be possible as we are already finding unique phenotypes that have never been seen before in A. baumannii. To our knowledge, there is only a handful of genes proven to regulate biofilm formation and even in the earliest stages of this project we have been able to identify a plethora of novel regulators thanks to this unique system.” To view Ms. Adams’ research poster, click here.