A polysaccharide deacetylase enhances bacterial adhesion in high ionic strength environments [article]

Nelson K Chepkwony, Yves V Brun
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
The adhesion of organisms to surfaces in aquatic environments provides a diversity of benefits such as better access to nutrients or protection from the elements or from predation. Differences in ionic strength, pH, temperature, shear forces, and other environmental factors impact adhesion and organisms have evolved various strategies to optimize their adhesins for their specific environmental conditions. We know essentially nothing about how bacteria evolved their adhesive mechanisms to attach
more » ... efficiently in environments with different physico-chemical conditions. Many species of Alphaproteobacteria, including members of the order Caulobacterales, use a polar adhesin, called holdfast, for surface attachment and subsequent biofilm formation in both freshwater and marine environments. Hirschia baltica, a marine member of Caulobacterales, produces a holdfast adhesin that tolerates a drastically higher ionic strength than the holdfast produced by its freshwater relative, Caulobacter crescentus. In this work, we show that the holdfast polysaccharide deacetylase HfsH plays an important role in adherence in high ionic strength environments. We show that deletion of hfsH in H. baltica disrupts holdfast binding properties and structure. Increasing expression of HfsH in C. crescentus improved holdfast binding in high salinity, whereas lowering HfsH expression in H. baltica reduced holdfast binding at high ionic strength. We conclude that HfsH plays a role in modulating holdfast binding at high ionic strength and hypothesize that this modulation occurs through varied deacetylation of holdfast polysaccharides.
doi:10.1101/2021.04.16.440180 fatcat:hrjlhccwq5g63dizx77geaibue