Periodic Reporting for period 3 - BIOFAGE (Interaction Dynamics of Bacterial Biofilms with Bacteriophages)
Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30
The results of the BIOFAGE project have so far provided a mechanistic understanding of specific phage-biofilm interactions, and also biofilm-macrophage interactions, and bring us closer to general concepts for phage-biofilm interaction dynamics, which could provide new insights for applications in phage therapy.
These findings have raised the question of manipulating the biofilm architecture and matrix composition to facilitate phage transport into biofilms. If phage penetration of biofilms is indeed a key hindrance to successfully removing biofilms, then it should be possible to improve biofilm removal by enhancing phage transport into biofilms. In this direction, we have now shown that antibiotic treatment of biofilms opens up the cell-cell spacing in biofilms, as a consequence of an antibiotic-induced breakdown of the extracellular matrix, which enables phages to pass through the biofilm community barrier.
Recently, we have also discovered that biofilms paly a crucial role in the interaction of bacteria with macrophages. Biofilms cover and engulf macrophages, before the macrophages die. We have determined the mechanisms of this interaction and found that biofilms significantly contribute to macrophage death, which reveals a new function of biofilms in the interaction with the immune system.
In the BIOFAGE project, we have also developed and published novel technologies for biofilm microscopy and image analysis, which are critical tools for advancing mechanistic research on biofilm-phage interactions.