Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Coaggregation occurs between microorganisms isolated from different environments

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas JakubovicsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Coaggregation, the specific recognition and adherence of different microbial species, is thought to enhance biofilm formation. To date, no studies have focused on the ability of microorganisms isolated from a broad range of environments to coaggregate with each other and it is unclear whether coaggregation promotes the transmission of microorganisms between environmental niches. We aimed to evaluate the coaggregation ability of 29 bacteria and one fungus, isolated from a range of different environments, and to characterize the cell-surface polymers that mediate coaggregation between selected pairs. Strains were categorized as belonging to one of the four microbial archetypes: aquatic, broad environment, human opportunistic pathogen or human oral. A total of 23 of the 30 strains (77%) coaggregated with at least one other and 21/30 (70%) coaggregated with strains belonging to other archetypes. Nasopharyngeal bacteria belonging to the human opportunistic pathogen archetype showed the least number of coaggregations, and five Haemophilus influenzae strains did not coaggregate. Protease and sugar treatments indicated that coaggregation between strains of different archetypes was often mediated by lectin–saccharide interactions (9 of 15 evaluated pairs). In conclusion, coaggregation can occur between taxonomically disparate species isolated from discrete environments. We propose that these organisms be labeled as ‘cross-environment coaggregating organisms’. The ability to coaggregate may aid species to colonize non-indigenous biofilms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stevens MR, Luo TL, Vornhagen J, Jakubovics NS, Gilsdorf JR, Marrs CF, Møretrø T, Rickard AH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Year: 2015

Volume: 91

Issue: 11

Print publication date: 01/11/2015

Online publication date: 16/10/2015

Acceptance date: 12/10/2015

Date deposited: 11/11/2015

ISSN (print): 0168-6496

ISSN (electronic): 1574-6941

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiv123

PubMed id: 26475462


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric