Sally James

University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (8)27.75 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study demonstrates that attachment of the marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas tunicata to the cellulose-containing surface of the green alga Ulva australis is mediated by a mannose-sensitive haemagglutinin (MSHA-like) pilus. We have identified an MSHA pilus biogenesis gene locus in P. tunicata, termed msh/1/2JKLMNEGFBACDOPQ, which shows significant homology, with respect to its genetic characteristics and organization, to the MSHA pilus biogenesis gene locus of Vibrio cholerae. Electron microscopy studies revealed that P. tunicata wild-type cells express flexible pili peritrichously arranged on the cell surface. A P. tunicata mutant (SM5) with a transposon insertion in the mshJ region displayed a non-piliated phenotype. Using SM5, it has been demonstrated that the MSHA pilus promotes attachment of P. tunicata wild-type cells in polystyrene microtitre plates, as well as to microcrystalline cellulose and to the living surface of U. australis. P. tunicata also demonstrated increased pilus production in response to cellulose and its monomer constituent cellobiose. The MSHA pilus thus functions as a determinant of attachment in P. tunicata, and it is proposed that an understanding of surface sensing mechanisms displayed by P. tunicata will provide insight into specific ecological interactions that occur between this bacterium and higher marine organisms.
    Microbiology 11/2006; 152(Pt 10):2875-83. DOI:10.1099/mic.0.29158-0 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The newly described green-pigmented bacterium Pseudoalteromonas tunicata (D2) produces target-specific inhibitory compounds against bacteria, algae, fungi, and invertebrate larvae and is frequently found in association with living surfaces in the marine environment. As part of our studies on the ecology of P. tunicata and its interaction with marine surfaces, we examined the ability of P. tunicata to form biofilms under continuous culture conditions within the laboratory. P. tunicata biofilms exhibited a characteristic architecture consisting of differentiated microcolonies surrounded by water channels. Remarkably, we observed a repeatable pattern of cell death during biofilm development of P. tunicata, similar to that recently reported for biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (J. S. Webb et al., J. Bacteriol. 185:4585-4595, 2003). Killing and lysis occurred inside microcolonies, apparently resulting in the formation of voids within these structures. A subpopulation of viable cells was always observed within the regions of killing in the biofilm. Moreover, extensive killing in mature biofilms appeared to result in detachment of the biofilm from the substratum. A novel 190-kDa autotoxic protein produced by P. tunicata, designated AlpP, was found to be involved in this biofilm killing and detachment. A Delta alpP mutant derivative of P. tunicata was generated, and this mutant did not show cell death during biofilm development. We propose that AlpP-mediated cell death plays an important role in the multicellular biofilm development of P. tunicata and subsequent dispersal of surviving cells within the marine environment.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 07/2004; 70(6):3232-8. DOI:10.1128/AEM.70.6.3232-3238.2004 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacteria growing in biofilms often develop multicellular, three-dimensional structures known as microcolonies. Complex differentiation within biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurs, leading to the creation of voids inside microcolonies and to the dispersal of cells from within these voids. However, key developmental processes regulating these events are poorly understood. A normal component of multicellular development is cell death. Here we report that a repeatable pattern of cell death and lysis occurs in biofilms of P. aeruginosa during the normal course of development. Cell death occurred with temporal and spatial organization within biofilms, inside microcolonies, when the biofilms were allowed to develop in continuous-culture flow cells. A subpopulation of viable cells was always observed in these regions. During the onset of biofilm killing and during biofilm development thereafter, a bacteriophage capable of superinfecting and lysing the P. aeruginosa parent strain was detected in the fluid effluent from the biofilm. The bacteriophage implicated in biofilm killing was closely related to the filamentous phage Pf1 and existed as a prophage within the genome of P. aeruginosa. We propose that prophage-mediated cell death is an important mechanism of differentiation inside microcolonies that facilitates dispersal of a subpopulation of surviving cells.
    Journal of Bacteriology 09/2003; 185(15):4585-92. DOI:10.1128/JB.185.15.4585-4592.2003 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Quorum-sensing systems provide Pseudomonas aeruginosa with a sensitive regulatory mechanism that allows for the induction of several phenotypic genes in a cell density fashion. In this work, a mathematical model of the acylated homoserine lactones regulatory network system in P. aeruginosa has been developed. It is the first integrated model to consider both quorum-sensing systems. The model has allowed us to disentangle the complex behavior exhibited by the system as the concentration of extracellular OdDHL is increased. At either low or high levels of extracellular OdDHL, the bacterium remains in an uninduced or induced state, respectively. At moderate levels, the behavior is characterized by several states. Here, the bacteria can switch suddenly from an uninduced to an induced phenotype in response to small changes in the concentration of extracellular OdDHL. Additionally, we have been able to address the roles of RsaL and Vfr as regulators of the quorum-sensing system. An important result from this analysis suggests that RsaL will increase the concentration of extracellular OdDHL required to induce the system, and it is a key regulator of the inhibition of the quorum-sensing system under low cell densities. Most importantly, our results suggest that Vfr has strong regulatory effects on the system as an increased affinity between the LasR/OdDHL complex, and the lasR promoter leads to significant qualitative changes in induction patterns. We also show experimental data that demonstrate that Vfr is required for signal production in the early phase of growth, but that in the latter stages of growth, the vfr mutant is able to synthesize wild-type levels of signal.
    Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology 02/2003; 6(2):88-100. DOI:10.1159/000076739 · 1.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudoalteromonas tunicata is a marine bacterium with the ability to prevent biofouling by the production of at least four target-specific compounds. In addition to these antifouling compounds, P. tunicata produces at least two pigments. These include a yellow and a purple pigment which, when combined, give the bacterium a dark green appearance. Transposon mutagenesis was used in this study to investigate the correlation between pigment production and the expression of specific antifouling phenotypes in P. tunicata. Four different categories of pigmentation mutants were isolated including yellow, dark-purple, light-purple and white mutants. The mutants were tested for their ability to inhibit the settlement of invertebrate larvae, algal spore germination, fungal growth and bacterial growth. The results showed that the yellow-pigmented mutants retained full antifouling activity, whereas the purple and white mutant strains had lost some, or all, of their ability to inhibit target organisms. This demonstrates that the loss of antifouling capabilities correlates with the loss of yellow pigment and not purple pigment. Sequencing and analysis of the genes disrupted by the transposons in these mutants identified a number of potential biosynthetic enzymes and transport systems involved in the synthesis and regulation of pigmentation and fouling inhibitors in this organism.
    Environmental Microbiology 09/2002; 4(8):433-42. DOI:10.1046/j.1462-2920.2002.00322.x · 6.24 Impact Factor
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    Suhelen Egan · Sally James · Staffan Kjelleberg
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    ABSTRACT: The dark green pigmented marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas tunicata colonizes living surfaces and produces a range of extracellular compounds that inhibit common fouling organisms, including marine invertebrate larvae, algae, bacteria, and fungi. We have observed a positive correlation between the antifouling activity of P. tunicata strain D2 and the expression of pigmentation. To address the hypothesis that pigmentation and antifouling may be jointly regulated in this organism and to begin to identify potential regulatory elements, we used transposon mutagenesis to generate a strain of P. tunicata deficient in antifouling activity. The data presented here describe the phenotypic and molecular characterization of a nonpigmented transposon mutant strain of P. tunicata (D2W2). Analyses of the antifouling capabilities of D2W2 demonstrate that this strain is deficient in the ability to inhibit each of the target fouling organisms. Genetic analysis of D2W2 identified a gene, designated wmpR (white mutant phenotype), with high sequence similarity to transcriptional regulators ToxR from Vibrio cholerae and CadC from Escherichia coli. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis revealed that WmpR is essential for the expression of a significant subset of stationary-phase-induced proteins likely to be important for the synthesis of fouling inhibitors. The identification of a gene involved in the regulation of expression of antifouling phenotypes will contribute to the understanding of the interactions between bacteria and other surface-colonizing organisms in the marine environment.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 02/2002; 68(1):372-8. DOI:10.1128/AEM.68.1.372-378.2002 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A collection of 56 bacteria isolated from different surfaces in the marine environment were assayed for their effects on the germination of spores from the common green alga Ulva lactuca. Thirteen bacterial isolates were shown to inhibit spore germination. Of these bacteria, Pseudoalteromonas tunicata displayed the most pronounced effects against algal spores. Further characterisation of the anti-algal activity of P. tunicata was performed and it was found that this bacterium produces an extracellular component with specific activity toward algal spores that is heat-sensitive, polar and between 3 and 10 kDa in size. This biologically active compound was also found to prevent the germination of spores from the red alga Polysiphonia sp. and, given the widespread occurrence of P. tunicata in a range of marine habitats, this may suggest that it is effective against a variety of marine algae.
    FEMS Microbiology Ecology 04/2001; 35(1):67-73. DOI:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2001.tb00789.x · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A mathematical model has been developed based on the fundamental properties of the control system formed by the lux genes and their products in Vibrio fischeri. The model clearly demonstrates how the components of this system work together to create two, stable metabolic states corresponding to the expression of the luminescent and non-luminescent phenotypes. It is demonstrated how the cell can “switch” between these steady states due to changes in parameters describing metabolic processes and the extracellular concentration of the signal molecule N-3-oxohexanoyl-l-homoserine lactone. In addition, it is shown how these parameters influence how sensitive the switch mechanism is to cellular LuxR and N-3-oxohexanoyl-l-homoserine lactone and complex concentration. While these properties could lead to the collective phenomenon known as quorum sensing, the model also predicts that under certain metabolic circumstances, basal expression of the lux genes could cause a cell to luminesce in the absence of extracellular signal molecule. Finally, the model developed in this study provides a basis for analysing the impact of other levels of control upon lux regulation.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2000; 296(4-296):1127-1137. DOI:10.1006/jmbi.1999.3484 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A dark-green-pigmented marine bacterium, previously designated D2, which produces components that are inhibitory to common marine fouling organisms has been characterized and assessed for taxonomic assignment. Based on direct double-stranded sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, D2T was found to show the highest similarity (93%) to members of the genus Pseudoalteromonas. The G + C content of D2T is 42 mol%, and it is a facultatively anaerobic rod and oxidase-positive. D2T is motile by a sheathed polar flagellum, exhibited non-fermentative metabolism and required sodium ions for growth. The strain was not capable of using citrate, fructose, sucrose, sorbitol and glycerol but it utilizes mannose and maltose and hydrolyses gelatin. The molecular evidence, together with phenotypic characteristics, showed that this bacterium which produces an antifouling agent constitutes a new species of the genus Pseudoalteromonas. The name Pseudoalteromonas tunicata is proposed for this bacterium, and the type strain is D2T (= CCUG 26757T).
    International journal of systematic bacteriology 11/1998; 48 Pt 4(4):1205-12. DOI:10.1099/00207713-48-4-1205 · 2.27 Impact Factor