Understanding the mechanism of cell shape change induced upon anaerobiosis is crucial to the development of effective treatments against P. aeruginosa biofilm infection. Here, we uncovered the molecular basis of anaerobiosis-triggered cell elongation and identified vitamin B(12) to be a molecule that can reinstate defective anaerobic growth of P. aeruginosa.
The ratio of total cellular DNA content to protein content was significantly decreased in the PAO1 strain grown under anaerobic conditions, indicating that DNA replication is impaired during anaerobic growth.
Anaerobic growth of PAO1 reached a higher cell density in the presence of vitamin B(12), an essential coenzyme of class II ribonucleotide reductase.
In addition, cell morphology returned to a normal rod shape and transcription of stress-response genes was downregulated under the same anaerobic growth conditions.
These results suggest that vitamin B(12), the production of which was suppressed during anaerobic growth, can restore cellular machineries for DNA replication and therefore facilitate better anaerobic growth of P. aeruginosa with normal cell division. Importantly, biofilm formation was substantially decreased when grown with vitamin B(12), further demonstrating that anaerobiosis-induced cell elongation is responsible for robust biofilm formation.
Taken together, our data reveal mechanistic details of a morphological change that naturally occurs during anaerobic growth of P. aeruginosa and illustrates the ability of vitamin B(12) to modulate the biofilm-forming capacity of P. aeruginosa under such condition.