Biofilm formation is a strategy of many bacterial species to adapt to a variety of stresses and has become a part of infections, contaminations, or beneficial interactions. In this study, we demonstrate that profound physiological changes permit Bacillus cereus to switch from a floating to a sessile lifestyle, to undergo further maturation of the biofilm and to differentiate into the offensive or defensive features. We report that floating and biofilm cells are populations that differentiate metabolically, with members of each subpopulation developing different branches of certain metabolic pathways. Secondly, biofilm populations rearrange nucleotides, sugars, amino acids, and energy metabolism. Thirdly, this metabolic rearrangement coexists with: the synthesis of the extracellular matrix, sporulation, reinforcement of the cell wall, activation of the ROS detoxification machinery and production of secondary metabolites. This strategy contributes to defend biofilm cells from competitors. However, floating cells maintain a fermentative metabolic status that ensures a higher aggressiveness against hosts, evidenced by the production of toxins. The maintenance of the two distinct subpopulations is an effective strategy to face different environmental conditions found in the life styles of B. cereus.
Keywords: Biofilms; Next-generation sequencing.
© The Author(s) 2020.