Gerald Fuller, Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
Mechanical Behavior of a Bacillus subtilis Pellicle
JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B
2016; 120 (26): 6080-6088
Bacterial biofilms consist of a complex network of biopolymers embedded with microorganisms, and together these components form a physically robust structure that enables bacteria to grow in a protected environment. This structure can help unwanted biofilms persist in situations ranging from chronic infection to the biofouling of industrial equipment, but under certain circumstances it can allow the biofilm to disperse and colonize new niches. Mechanical properties are therefore a key aspect of biofilm life. In light of the recently discovered growth-induced compressive stress present within a biofilm, we studied the mechanical behavior of Bacillus subtilis pellicles, or biofilms at the air-liquid interface, and tracked simultaneously the force response and macroscopic structural changes during elongational deformations. We observed that pellicles behaved viscoelastically in response to small deformations, such that the growth-induced compressive stress was still present, and viscoplastically at large deformations, when the pellicles were under tension. In addition, by using particle imaging velocimetry we found that the pellicle deformations were nonaffine, indicating heterogeneous mechanical properties with the pellicle being more pliable near attachment surfaces. Overall, our results indicate that we must consider not only the viscoelastic but also the viscoplastic and mechanically heterogeneous nature of these structures to understand biofilm dispersal and removal.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.jpcb.6b02074
View details for Web of Science ID 000379457200033
View details for PubMedID 27046510
In Vitro Characteristics of Porcine Tendon Hydrogel for Tendon Regeneration
ANNALS OF PLASTIC SURGERY
2016; 77 (1): 47-53
Previous work has characterized the development of a human tendon hydrogel capable of improving mechanical strength after tendon injury. Animal tendon hydrogel has not yet been described, but would prove beneficial due to the cost and ethical concerns associated with the use of human cadaveric tendon. This study details the manufacture and assesses the biocompatibility of porcine tendon hydrogel seeded with human adipoderived stem cells (ASCs).Porcine tendon was dissected from surrounding connective and muscle tissue and decellularized via 0.2% sodium dodecyl sulfate and 0.2% sodium dodecyl sulfate/ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid wash solutions before lyophilization. Tendon was milled and reconstituted by previously described methods. Decellularization was confirmed by hematoxylin-eosin staining, SYTO Green 11 nucleic acid dye, and DNeasy assay. The protein composition of milled tendon matrix before and after digestion was identified by mass spectrometry. Rheological properties were determined using an ARG2 rheometer. Biocompatibility was assessed by live/dead assay. The proliferation of human ASCs seeded in porcine and human hydrogel was measured by MTS assay. All experimental conditions were performed in triplicate.Decellularization of porcine tendon was successful. Mass spectrometry showed that collagen composes one third of milled porcine tendon before and after pepsin digestion. Rheology demonstrated that porcine hydrogel maintains a fluid consistency over a range of temperatures, unlike human hydrogel, which tends to solidify. Live/dead staining revealed that human ASCs survive in hydrogel 7 days after seeding and retain spindle-like morphology. MTS assay at day 3 and day 5 showed that human ASC proliferation was marginally greater in human hydrogel.After reconstitution and digestion, porcine hydrogel was capable of supporting growth of human ASCs. The minimal difference in proliferative capacity suggests that porcine tendon hydrogel may be an effective and viable alternative to human hydrogel for the enhancement of tendon healing.
View details for DOI 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000361
View details for Web of Science ID 000379616300009
View details for PubMedID 25305229
Molecular Determinants of Mechanical Properties of V-cholerae Biofilms at the Air-Liquid Interface
2014; 107 (10): 2245-2252
Biofilm formation increases both the survival and infectivity of Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. V. cholerae is capable of forming biofilms on solid surfaces and at the air-liquid interface, termed pellicles. Known components of the extracellular matrix include the matrix proteins Bap1, RbmA, and RbmC, an exopolysaccharide termed Vibrio polysaccharide, and DNA. In this work, we examined a rugose strain of V. cholerae and its mutants unable to produce matrix proteins by interfacial rheology to compare the evolution of pellicle elasticity in real time to understand the molecular basis of matrix protein contributions to pellicle integrity and elasticity. Together with electron micrographs, visual inspection, and contact angle measurements of the pellicles, we defined distinct contributions of the matrix proteins to pellicle morphology, microscale architecture, and mechanical properties. Furthermore, we discovered that Bap1 is uniquely required for the maintenance of the mechanical strength of the pellicle over time and contributes to the hydrophobicity of the pellicle. Thus, Bap1 presents an important matrix component to target in the prevention and dispersal of V. cholerae biofilms.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.10.015
View details for Web of Science ID 000347463000002