Mechanical Contact Characteristics of PC3 Human Prostate Cancer Cells on Complex-Shaped Silicon Micropillars
Bacteria have evolved as intelligent microorganisms that can colonize and form highly structured and cooperative multicellular communities with sophisticated singular and collective behaviors. The initial stages of colony formation and intercellular communication are particularly important to understand and depend highly on the spatial organization of cells. Controlling the distribution and growth of bacterial cells at the nanoscale is, therefore, of great interest in understanding the mechanisms of cell-cell communication at the initial stages of colony formation. Staphyloccocus aureus, a ubiquitous human pathogen, is of specific clinical importance due to the rise of antibiotic resistant strains of this species, which can cause life-threatening infections. Although several methods have attempted to pattern bacterial cells onto solid surfaces at single cell resolution, no study has truly controlled the 3D architectures of growing colonies. Herein, we present a simple, low-cost method to pattern S. aureus bacterial colonies and control the architecture of their growth. Using the wetting properties of micropatterened poly(dimethyl siloxane) platforms, with help from the physiological activities of the S. aureus cells, we fabricated connected networks of bacterial microcolonies of various sizes. Unlike conventional heterogeneous growth of biofilms on surfaces, the patterned S. aureus microcolonies in this work grow radially from nanostrings of a few bacterial cells, to form micrometer-thick rods when provided with a nutrient rich environment. This simple, efficient, and low-cost method can be used as a platform for studies of cell-cell communication phenomena, such as quorum sensing, horizontal gene transfer, and metabolic cross-feeding especially during initial stages of colony formation.