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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Jul;60(7):2355-9.

Role of alginate lyase in cell detachment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago 60612.


The exopolysaccharide alginate of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was shown to be important in determining the degree of cell detachment from an agar surface. Nonmucoid strain 8822 gave rise to 50-fold more sloughed cells than mucoid strains 8821 and 8830. Alginate anchors the bacteria to the agar surface, thereby influencing the extent of detachment. The role of the P. aeruginosa alginate lyase in the process of cell sloughing was investigated. Increased expression of the alginate lyase in mucoid strain 8830 led to alginate degradation and increased cell detachment. Similar effects were seen both when the alginate lyase was induced at the initial stage of cell inoculation and when it was induced at a later stage of growth. It appears that high-molecular-weight alginate polymers are required to efficiently retain the bacteria within the growth film. When expressed from a regulated promoter, the alginate lyase can induce enhanced sloughing of cells because of degradation of the alginate. This suggests a possible role for the lyase in the development of bacterial growth films.

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