Calcium carbonate mineralization is essential for biofilm formation and lung colonization

Malena Cohen-Cymberknoh, Dror Kolodkin-Gal, Alona Keren-Paz, Shani Peretz, Vlad Brumfeld, Sergey Kapishnikov, Ronit Suissa, Michal Shteinberg, Daniel McLeod, Harsh Maan, Marianna Patrauchan, Gideon Zamir, Eitan Kerem, Ilana Kolodkin-Gal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Biofilms are differentiated microbial communities held together by an extracellular matrix. μCT X-ray revealed structured mineralized areas within biofilms of lung pathogens belonging to two distant phyla – the proteobacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the actinobacteria Mycobacterium abscessus. Furthermore, calcium chelation inhibited the assembly of complex bacterial structures for both organisms with little to no effect on cell growth. The molecular mechanisms promoting calcite scaffold formation were surprisingly conserved between the two pathogens as biofilm development was similarly impaired by genetic and biochemical inhibition of calcium uptake and carbonate accumulation. Moreover, chemical inhibition and mutations targeting mineralization significantly reduced the attachment of P. aeruginosa to the lung, as well as the subsequent damage inflicted by biofilms to lung tissues, and restored their sensitivity to antibiotics. This work offers underexplored druggable targets for antibiotics to combat otherwise untreatable biofilm infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104234
Issue number5
StatePublished - 20 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell biology
  • Microbiofilms
  • Microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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