Video Abstract (AI generated) (01:35)PaperPreprint
As common commensals residing on mucosal tissues, Lactobacillus species are known to encourage health, while recent findings highlight the pathogenic roles of Streptococcus species in these environments. In this study we used a combination of in vivo imaging experiments and computational modeling to explore biofilm interactions between Streptococcus oralis, an accessory pathogen in oral Candidiasis, and Lactobacillus paracasei, an organism with known probiotic properties. A computational agent-based model was created where the two species only interact by competing for space and nutrients. Quantification of bacterial growth in live biofilms indicated that S. oralis biomass and cell numbers were much lower than predicted by the model. Two subsequent models were then created to examine more complex interactions between these species, one where L. paracasei secretes a surfactant, and another where L. paracasei secretes an inhibitor of S. oralis growth. Further biofilm experiments support the hypothesis that L. paracasei may secrete an inhibitor of S. oralis growth, although they do not exclude that a surfactant could also be involved. This contribution shows how agent-based modeling and experiments can be used in synergy to address multiple species biofilm interactions, with important roles in mucosal health and disease.