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J Bacteriol. 1996 Apr;178(8):2186-95.

Identification of algI and algJ in the Pseudomonas aeruginosa alginate biosynthetic gene cluster which are required for alginate O acetylation.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163, USA.


Mucoid strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa overproduce alginate, a linear exopolysaccharide Of D-mannuronate and variable amounts of L-guluronate. The mannuronate residues undergo modification by C-5 epimerization to form the L-guluronates and by the addition of acetyl groups at the 0-2 and 0-3 positions. Through genetic analysis, we previously identified algF, located upstream of algA in the 18-kb alginate biosynthetic operon, as a gene required for alginate acetylation. Here, we show the sequence of a 3.7-kb fragment containing the open reading frames termed algI, algJ, and algF. An algI::Tn5O1 mutant, which was defective in algIJFA because of the polar nature of the transposon insertion, produced alginate when algA was provided in trans. This indicated that the algIJF gene products were not required for polymer biosynthesis. To examine the potential role of these genes in alginate modification, mutants were constructed by gene replacement in which each gene (algI, algJ, or algF) was replaced by a polar gentamicin resistance cassette. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed that polymers produced by strains deficient in algIJF still contained a mixture of D-mannuronate and L-guluronate, indicating that C-5 epimerization was not affected. Alginate acetylation was evaluated by a colorimetric assay and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, and this analysis showed that strains deficient in algIJF produced nonacetylated alginate. Plasmids that supplied the downstream gene products affected by the polar mutations were introduced into each mutant. The strain defective only in algF expression produced an alginate that was not acetylated, confirming previous results. Strains missing only algJ or algI also produced nonacetylated alginates. Providing the respective missing gene (algI, algJ, or algF) in trans restored alginate acetylation. Mutants defective in algI or algJ, obtained by chemical and transposon mutagenesis, were also defective in their ability to acetylate alginate. Therefore, algI and algJ represent newly identified genes that, in addition to algF, are required for alginate acetylation.

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