E. COLI SWIM ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE
June 30th, 2005
Real-time movie of E. coli cells swimming in 10 micron wide, 1.5 micron high, poly(dimethylsiloxane) microchannels with soft, agar floors. The majority of cells are swimming on the right-hand side of the microchannel. [click above to view]
E. coli cells can also cooperatively move over soft gel surfaces, a phenomenon called swarming. The authors examined E. coli swarmer cells moving in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) channels with soft agar floors. It was found that bacterial cells move near a gel surface for much longer periods of time than a solid surface, a significant new insight into the interaction of bacterial cells with surfaces. Combined with the ability to “direct traffic” in new ways, these findings may allow new explorations of bacterial behavior in conditions more closely resembling pathogenic infection. In addition, controlling and guiding the motion of bacterial cells by using composite gel/PDMS microchannels may be useful in the development of cell-based microdevices such as biosensors.