Microbiol Spectr - (-) e0295623 [2024-01-11; online 2024-01-11]
As a WHO top-priority drug-resistant microbe, Acinetobacter baumannii significantly contributes to hospital-associated infections worldwide. One particularly intriguing aspect is its ability to reversibly switch its colony morphotype on agar plates, which has been remarkably underexplored. In this study, we employed various microscopic techniques and phenotypic assays to investigate the colony phase variation switch under different clinically and environmentally relevant conditions. Our findings reveal that the presence of a poly N-acetylglucosamine-positive extracellular matrix layer contributes to the protection of bacteria from the bactericidal effects of colistin. Furthermore, we provide intriguing insights into the multicellular lifestyle of A. baumannii, specifically in the context of colony switch variation within its predatory host, Acanthamoeba castellanii.