Xylella fastidiosa Differentially Accumulates Mineral Elements in Biofilm and Planktonic Cells
Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial plant pathogen that infects numerous plant hosts. Disease develops when the bacterium colonizes the xylem vessels and forms a biofilm. Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy was used to examine the mineral element content of this pathogen in biofilm and planktonic states. Significant accumulations of copper (30-fold), manganese (6-fold), zinc (5-fold), calcium (2-fold) and potassium (2-fold) in the biofilm compared to planktonic cells were observed. Other mineral elements such as sodium, magnesium and iron did not significantly differ between biofilm and planktonic cells. The distribution of mineral elements in the planktonic cells loosely mirrors the media composition; however the unique mineral element distribution in biofilm suggests specific mechanisms of accumulation from the media. A cell-to-surface attachment assay shows that addition of 50 to 100 mu M Cu to standard X. fastidiosa media increases biofilm, while higher concentrations (> 200 mu M) slow cell growth and prevent biofilm formation. Moreover cell-to-surface attachment was blocked by specific chelation of copper. Growth of X. fastidiosa in microfluidic chambers under flow conditions showed that addition of 50 mu M Cu to the media accelerated attachment and aggregation, while 400 mu M prevented this process. Supplementation of standard media with Mn showed increased biofilm formation and cell-to-cell attachment. In contrast, while the biofilm accumulated Zn, supplementation to the media with this element caused inhibited growth of planktonic cells and impaired biofilm formation. Collectively these data suggest roles for these minerals in attachment and biofilm formation and therefore the virulence of this pathogen.