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Extremophiles. 2012 May;16(3):485-95. doi: 10.1007/s00792-012-0448-x. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Homogeneous incorporation of secondary cell wall polysaccharides to the cell wall of Thermus thermophilus HB27.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular, Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Campus de la UAM, 28049, Madrid, Spain.


Regular surface protein layers (S-layers) from most Gram-positive bacteria and from the ancestral bacterium Thermus thermophilus attach to pyruvylated polysaccharides (SCWP) covalently bound to the peptidoglycan through their SLH domain. However, it is not known whether the synthesis of SCWP and S-layer is coordinated enough as to follow a similar pattern of incorporation to the cell wall during growth. In this work we analyse the localization of newly synthesized SCWP on the cell wall of T. thermophilus by immunoelectron microscopy. For this, we obtained mutants with a reduced amount of pyruvylated SCWP through mutation of the csaB gene encoding the SCWP-pyruvylating activity, and its upstream gene csaA, a putative sugar transporter. We hypothesized that CsaA would be required for the synthesis of the SCWP. However, we found that csaA mutants showed only a minor decrease in the amount of SCWP immunodetected on the cell walls in comparison with csaB mutants, revealing its irrelevance in the process. Complementation experiments of csaB mutants with CsaB expressed from inducible promoters revealed that newly synthesized SCWP was homogeneously distributed along the cell wall. Fusions with thermostable fluorescent protein revealed that CsaB was distributed also in homogeneous pattern associated with the membrane. These data support that synthesis of SCWP takes place in disperse and homogeneous form all over the cell surface, in contrast to the zonal incorporation at the cell centre recently demonstrated for SlpA.

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