Low Concentrations of Vitamin C Reduce the Synthesis of Extracellular Polymers and Destabilize Bacterial Biofilms
Journal article, 2017

Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) produced by bacteria form a matrix supporting the complex three-dimensional architecture of biofilms. This EPS matrix is primarily composed of polysaccharides, proteins and extracellular DNA. In addition to supporting the community structure, the EPS matrix protects bacterial biofilms from the environment. Specifically, it shields the bacterial cells inside the biofilm, by preventing antimicrobial agents from getting in contact with them, thereby reducing their killing effect. New strategies for disrupting the formation of the EPS matrix can therefore lead to a more efficient use of existing antimicrobials. Here we examined the mechanism of the known effect of vitamin C (sodium ascorbate) on enhancing the activity of various antibacterial agents. Our quantitative proteomics analysis shows that non-lethal concentrations of vitamin C inhibit bacterial quorum sensing and other regulatory mechanisms underpinning biofilm development. As a result, the EPS biosynthesis in reduced, and especially the polysaccharide component of the matrix is depleted. Once the EPS content is reduced beyond a critical point, bacterial cells get fully exposed to the medium. At this stage, the cells are more susceptible to killing, either by vitamin C-induced oxidative stress as reported here, or by other antimicrobials or treatments.

Bacillus subtilis

vitamin C

biofilms

exopolymeric matrix

quantitative proteomics

Author

Santosh Pandit

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Vaishnavi Ravikumar

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

A. M. Abdel-Haleem

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Abderahmane Derouiche

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Venkata Raghu Mokkapati

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

C. Sihlbom

Sahlgrenska Academy

Katsuhiko Mineta

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

T. Gojobori

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

X. Gao

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Fredrik Westerlund

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Ivan Mijakovic

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Frontiers in Microbiology

1664-302X (ISSN)

Vol. 8 DEC 2599

Subject Categories

Microbiology

DOI

10.3389/fmicb.2017.02599

PubMed

29317857

More information

Latest update

4/12/2018