Monitoring in Real Time the Formation and Removal of Biofilms From Clinically Relevant Pathogens

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Spanish scientists demonstrate that the growth and destruction of medically important bacterial biofilms can be quantitatively monitored in real-time using the xCELLigence® technology from ACEA Biosciences.

Growth of Staphylococcus aureus on xCELLigence E-Plate electrodes. The upper schematic depicts biofilm accumulation on the electrodes throughout the time course. The lower data trace is actual data

In addition to living in a free-floating “planktonic” state within aqueous environments, bacteria can also colonize solid surfaces present at liquid-solid and air-solid interfaces. Within these microenvironments the bacteria “speak” to each other via chemical messengers to coordinate gene expression profiles in ways that promote survival of the colony. A common feature of these bacterial communities is the secretion of polymeric substances (polysaccharides, nucleic acids, proteins, etc.) which serve to encapsulate the cells and protect them from the environment. These “biofilms” enhance antibiotic resistance as much as 10,000-fold and play critical roles in human health and disease, including: dental plaques and cavities, infections, rejection of artificial implants, and food poisoning. Though developing drugs to treat biofilms – or prevent their formation in the first place – is of critical importance, existing assays for assessing biofilm formation and growth are time consuming and low throughput. Microtiter plate endpoint assays wherein adherent bacteria are stained with crystal violet are currently the most common type of assay used.

Last month Patricia Ruas-Madiedo and colleagues demonstrated in the journal PLOS ONE use of the xCELLigence Real-Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) technology for monitoring the biofilms produced by clinically relevant bacterial species including Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus mutans. Biofilm-producing strains could readily be differentiated from non-producing strains using this technique. Importantly, the authors showed that treating bacteria either before or after biofilm production with cell wall-degrading endolysin enzymes or with bacteriophage result in a decreased xCELLigence signal that correlates with mitigation of the bacteria. These proof of concept studies represent a major step forward as they demonstrate the ability to quantitatively track in a continuous manner the state of biofilms without having to use labels or labor intensive protocols. Adoption of this approach has the potential to dramatically accelerate screening programs focused on discovery/development of drugs for preventing biofilm formation or destroying it once it has been established.

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Learn more about xCELLigence RTCA, and how it is being used for diverse applications.

About xCELLigence®
ACEA’s xCELLigence® Real Time Cell Analysis (RTCA) instruments utilize gold microelectrodes embedded in the bottom of microtiter wells to non-invasively monitor the status of adherent cells using the principle of cellular impedance. In short, cells act as insulators – impeding the flow of an alternating microampere electric current between electrodes. This impedance signal is measured automatically, at an interval defined by the user (e.g. every 10 seconds, once per hour, etc.), and provides an extremely sensitive readout of cell number, cell size/shape, and cell-substrate attachment strength.

About ACEA Biosciences
Founded in 2002, ACEA Biosciences is a pioneer in the development and commercialization of high performance, cutting edge cell analysis platforms for life science research. ACEA’s xCELLigence® impedance-based, label-free, real-time cell analysis instruments and NovoCyte® flow cytometers are used in pre-clinical drug discovery and development, toxicology, safety pharmacology, and basic academic research.

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For further information please contact:                                                                                    
ACEA Biosciences, Inc.                                                                                                                
Dr. Jeff Xue                                                                                                                                    
Phone: +1 858 724 0928 x 3075                                                                                                
email: jxue(at)aceabio(dot)com

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Jeff Xue, Ph.D.
ACEA Biosciences, Inc.
+1 8587240928 Ext: 3075
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