[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas alkylphenolia is known to form different types of multicellular structures depending on the environmental stimuli. Aerial structures formed during vapor p-cresol utilization are unique. Transposon mutants that showed a smooth colony phenotype failed to form a differentiated biofilm, including aerial structures and pellicles, and showed deficient surface spreading motility. The transposon insertion sites were located to a gene cluster designated epm (extracellular polymer matrix), which comprises 11 ORFs in the same transcriptional orientation. The putative proteins encoded by the genes in the epm cluster showed amino acid sequence homology to those found in the alginate biosynthesis gene clusters, e.g., in Pseudomonas aeruginosa at similarity levels of 32.3-86.4 %. This overall resemblance indicated that the epm gene cluster encodes proteins that mediate the synthesis of an exopolysaccharide composed of uronic acid(s) similar to alginate. Our preliminary results suggested that the epm-derived polymer is a substituted polymannuronic acid. Gene clusters homologous to the epm gene cluster are found in the genomes of a few species of the genera Pseudomonas, Alcanivorax, and Marinobacter. A mutational analysis showed that the epmJ and epmG genes encoding putative exopolysaccharide-modifying enzymes are required to form multicellular structures. An analysis of the activity of the promoter P epmD using a transcriptional fusion to the green fluorescence protein gene showed that the epm genes are strongly expressed at the tips of the specialized aerial structures. Our results suggested that the epm gene cluster is involved in the formation of a scaffold polysaccharide that is required to form multicellular structures in P. alkylphenolia.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 02/2014; · 3.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, the chromosome-encoded pcuRCAXB genes that are required for p-cresol degradation have been identified by using a newly constructed green fluorescent protein (GFP)-based promoter probe transposon in the long-chain alkylphenol degrader Pseudomonas alkylphenolia. The deduced amino acid sequences of the genes showed the highest identities at the levels of 65-93% compared with those in the databases. The transposon was identified to be inserted in the pcuA gene, with the promoterless gfp gene being under the control of the pcu catabolic gene promoter. The expression of GFP was positively induced by p-cresol and was about 10 times higher by cells grown on agar than those in liquid culture. In addition, phydroxybenzoic acid was detected during p-cresol degradation. These results indicate that P. alkylphenolia additionally possesses a protocatechuate ortho-cleavage route for pcresol degradation that is dominantly expressed in colonies.
Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 11/2011; 21(11):1179-83. · 1.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When grown with vaporized alkylphenols such as p-cresol as the sole carbon and energy source, several isolated Rhodococcus strains formed growth structures like miniature mushrooms, termed here specialized aerial architectures (SAA), that reached sizes of up to 0.8 mm in height. Microscopic examination allowed us to view the distinct developmental stages during the formation of SAA from a selected strain, Rhodococcus sp. KL96. Initially, mounds consisting of long rod cells arose from a lawn of cells, and then highly branched structures were formed from the mounds. During the secondary stage of development, branching began after long rod cells grew outward and twisted longitudinally, serving as growth points, and the cells at the base of the mound became short rods that supported upward growth. Cells in the highly fluffy structures were eventually converted, via reductive division, into structures that resembled cocci, with a diameter of approximately 0.5 microm, that were arranged in chains. Most cells inside the SAA underwent a phase variation in order to form wrinkled colonies from cells that originally formed smooth colonies. Approximately 2 months was needed for complete development of the SAA, and viable cells were recovered from SAA that were incubated for more than a year. An extracellular polymeric matrix layer and lipid bodies appeared to play an important role in structural integrity and as a metabolic energy source, respectively. To our knowledge, similar formation of aerial structures for the purpose of substrate utilization has not been reported previously for Gram-positive bacteria.