Insights into the assembly of the alginate biosynthesis machinery in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Zahid Ur Rehman, Yajie Wang, M. Fata Moradali, Iain D. Hay, Bernd H A Rehm

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen of particular significance to cystic fibrosis patients. This bacterium produces the exopolysaccharide alginate, which is an indicator of poor prognosis for these patients. The proteins required for alginate polymerization and secretion are encoded by genes organized in a single operon; however, the existence of internal promoters has been reported. It has been proposed that these proteins form a multiprotein complex which extends from the inner to outer membrane. Here, experimental evidence supporting such a multiprotein complex was obtained via mutual stability analysis, pulldown assays, and coimmunoprecipitation. The impact of the absence of single proteins or subunits on this multiprotein complex, i.e., on the stability of potentially interacting proteins, as well as on alginate production was investigated. Deletion of algK in an alginate-overproducing strain, PDO300, interfered with the polymerization of alginate, suggesting that in the absence of AlgK, the polymerase and copolymerase subunits, Alg8 and Alg44, are destabilized. Based on mutual stability analysis, interactions between AlgE (outer membrane), AlgK (periplasm), AlgX (periplasm), Alg44 (inner membrane), Alg8 (inner membrane), and AlgG (periplasm) were proposed. Coimmunoprecipitation using a FLAG-tagged variant of AlgE further demonstrated its interaction with AlgK. Pulldown assays using histidine-tagged AlgK showed that AlgK interacts with AlgX, which in turn was also copurified with histidine-tagged Alg44. Detection of AlgG and AlgE in PAO1 supported the existence of internal promoters controlling expression of the respective genes. Overall experimental evidence was provided for the existence of a multiprotein complex required for alginate polymerization and secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3264-3272
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

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