Microfluidic Confinement of Single Cells of Bacteria in Small Volumes Initiates High-Density Behavior of Quorum Sensing and Growth and Reveals Its Variability


  • This research was supported by the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award DP1 OD003584 to R.F.I. We thank S. Molin for generously providing the reporter strain, J. Shapiro and O. Zaborina for helpful discussion, and E. B. Haney for contributions to writing this manuscript.


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One is a quorum: As few as one to three cells of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are confined in small volumes by the use of microfluidics. These small numbers of cells are able to activate quorum sensing (QS) pathways and achieve QS-dependent growth. The results also show that at low numbers of cells, initiation of QS is highly variable within a clonal population.