Inhibition of swarming motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by branched-chain fatty acids

Tetsuyoshi Inoue, Ryuji Shingaki, Kazuhiro Fukui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is capable of moving by swimming, swarming, and twitching motilities. In this study, we investigated the effects of fatty acids on Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 motilities. A branched-chain fatty acid (BCFA) - 12-methyltetradecanoic acid (anteiso-C15:0) - has slightly repressed flagella-driven swimming motility and completely inhibited a more complex type of surface motility, i.e. swarming, at a concentration of 10 μg mL -1. In contrast, anteiso-C15:0 exhibited no effect on pili-mediated twitching motility. Other BCFAs and unsaturated fatty acids tested in this study showed similar inhibitory effects on swarming motility, although the level of inhibition differed between these fatty acids. These fatty acids caused no significant growth inhibition in liquid cultures. Straight-chain saturated fatty acids such as palmitic acid were less effective in swarming inhibition. The wetness of the PAO1 colony was significantly reduced by the addition of anteiso-C15:0; however, the production of rhamnolipids as a surface-active agent was not affected by the fatty acid. In addition to motility repression, anteiso-C15:0 caused 31% repression of biofilm formation by PAO1, suggesting that BCFA could affect the multiple cellular activities of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty acid
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Swarming motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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