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Res Microbiol. 1999 Mar;150(2):105-16.

Pattern of changes in the activity of enzymes of GDP-D-mannuronic acid synthesis and in the level of transcription of algA, algC and algD genes accompanying the loss and emergence of mucoidy in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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1
Centro de Engenharia Biológica e Química, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal.

Abstract

The low activity levels of the four GDP-D-mannuronic acid-forming enzymes, even in highly alginate-producing strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, have made it difficult to compare enzyme activities accompanying the loss/acquisition of mucoidy. Using optimized conditions, we compared the specific activity of these enzymes in three different mucoid P. aeruginosa cystic fibrosis isolates, in their nonmucoid spontaneous variants, and in mucoid variants that emerged during extended incubation of these nonmucoid forms in acetamide broth. A correlation was established between the promptness of emergence of the mucoid forms and the differing sensitivity to nutrient-limitation-induced death of the nonmucoid compared with the isogenic mucoid population. Consistent with the undetectable levels of algD mRNA in nonmucoid forms and with the concept that the step catalyzed by the algD-encoded GDP-mannose dehydrogenase (GMD) is a key step in control of the alginate pathway, GMD activity was undetectable or showed negligible values in nonmucoid variants and correlated with alginate production. However, phosphomannose isomerase (PMI), phosphomannomutase (PMM), and GDP-mannose pyrophosphorylase (GMP) activities in the nonmucoid forms were only slightly (40-70%) below the values in the mucoid forms. Nevertheless, no transcripts homologous to algA (encoding a bifunctional enzyme that possesses both PMI and GMP activities) were detected in the nonmucoid form, and the levels of algC (encoding PMM) transcripts, although detectable in the nonmucoid variants, were, in general, much higher in the mucoid forms. These apparently intriguing observations were cleared up by the identification of two algA functional homologues in P. aeruginosa, recently reported by others, and by the identification of one algC homologue, in contig225 of the PAO1 genome sequence, defining a polypeptide with a deduced amino acid sequence that showed significant homology with that of enzymes of the phosphohexomutase family found in databases. Results are also consistent with the requirement of PMI, GMP and PMM activities for the supply of GDP-D-mannose to (at least) A-band lipopolysaccharide synthesis, while GMD channels this precursor into the alginate pathway.

PMID:
10209766
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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