Funding body: DFG
Pseudonym: SPP1617
Title: Physiological characterization of the distinct cell types that coexist in Staphylococcus aureus biofilms.

It is known that bacterial biofilms are constituted by a heterogeneous population of distinct cell types. In this line of research, we will physiologically characterize the distinct subpopulations that could exist in multicellular communities of the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. To do this, we are currently developing a new cell-sorting methodology that permits the isolation of each one of the constituent subpopulations and analyze their transcriptomic profile after isolation. This approach will allow us determining the physiological characteristics of each cell type to better understand their specialization within the biofilm. Furthermore, we will combine our approach with state-of-the-art microscopic techniques to perform a spatio-temporal localization of the subpopulations within the S. aureus aggregates. The combination of these two approaches will provide a better understanding of the role of specialized cell types within microbial communities and whether this is connected to the specific physiological state of each cell type. Overall, our project will explore whether S. aureus communities are constituted by a heterogeneous population of genetically identical cells and whether this heterogeneity is important to cause the different infection outcomes that are associated with this pathogen.