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Extremophiles. 2012 Jan;16(1):115-25. doi: 10.1007/s00792-011-0411-2. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Complementation of Sulfolobus solfataricus PBL2025 with an α-mannosidase: effects on surface attachment and biofilm formation.

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Molecular Biology of Archaea, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse, Marburg, Germany.


Compared to Sulfolobus solfataricus P2, the S. solfataricus mutant PBL2025 misses 50 genes (SSO3004-3050), including genes coding for a multitude of enzymes possibly involved in sugar degradation or metabolism. We complemented PBL2025 with two of the missing proteins, the α-mannosidase (SSO3006, Ssα-man) and the β-galactosidase LacS (SSO3019), and performed comparative fluorescence microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy to analyze the recombinant strains. We demonstrated that the Ssα-man complemented strain resembled the S. solfataricus P2 behavior with respect to attachment of cells to glass and growth of cells in static biofilms. During expression of the Ssα-man, but not LacS, glucose and mannose-containing extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) levels changed in the recombinant strain during surface attachment and biofilm formation. These results suggest that the Ssα-man might be involved in the modulation of the EPS composition and/or in the de-mannosylation of the glycan tree, which is attached to extracellular glycosylated proteins in S. solfataricus. On the other hand, LacS expression in PBL2025 reduced the carbohydrate content of the isolated total EPS implying a role in the modulation of the produced EPS during static biofilm formation. These are the first enzymes identified as playing a role in archaeal EPS formation.

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