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      Physiological heterogeneity in biofilms.

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          Abstract

          Biofilms contain bacterial cells that are in a wide range of physiological states. Within a biofilm population, cells with diverse genotypes and phenotypes that express distinct metabolic pathways, stress responses and other specific biological activities are juxtaposed. The mechanisms that contribute to this genetic and physiological heterogeneity include microscale chemical gradients, adaptation to local environmental conditions, stochastic gene expression and the genotypic variation that occurs through mutation and selection. Here, we discuss the processes that generate chemical gradients in biofilms, the genetic and physiological responses of the bacteria as they adapt to these gradients and the techniques that can be used to visualize and measure the microscale physiological heterogeneities of bacteria in biofilms.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Nat Rev Microbiol
          Nature reviews. Microbiology
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1740-1534
          1740-1526
          Mar 2008
          : 6
          : 3
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717-3980, USA. phil_s@erc.montana.edu
          Article
          nrmicro1838
          10.1038/nrmicro1838
          18264116
          eb04d441-9ed2-48ae-bc3a-bec4d32c3628
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