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Intracellular Biosynthesis of Fluorescent CdSe Quantum Dots in Bacillus subtilis: A Strategy to Construct Signaling Bacterial Probes for Visually Detecting Interaction Between Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus

  • Zheng-Yu Yan (a1) (a2), Xiao-Xia Ai (a1) (a2), Yi-Long Su (a1) (a2), Xin-Ying Liu (a1) (a2), Xiao-Hui Shan (a3) and Sheng-Mei Wu (a1) (a2)...


In this work, fluorescent Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) cells were developed as probes for imaging applications and to explore behaviorial interaction between B. subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). A novel biological strategy of coupling intracellular biochemical reactions for controllable biosynthesis of CdSe quantum dots by living B. subtilis cells was demonstrated, through which highly luminant and photostable fluorescent B. subtilis cells were achieved with good uniformity. With the help of the obtained fluorescent B. subtilis cells probes, S. aureus cells responded to co-cultured B. subtilis and to aggregate. The degree of aggregation was calculated and nonlinearly fitted to a polynomial model. Systematic investigations of their interactions implied that B. subtilis cells inhibit the growth of neighboring S. aureus cells, and this inhibition was affected by both the growth stage and the amount of surrounding B. subtilis cells. Compared to traditional methods of studying bacterial interaction between two species, such as solid culture medium colony observation and imaging mass spectrometry detection, the procedures were more simple, vivid, and photostable due to the efficient fluorescence intralabeling with less influence on the cells’ surface, which might provide a new paradigm for future visualization of microbial behavior.


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