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Identification of Proteins that Participate in Bacterial Adhesion.

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Final Technical rept. Jun 95-Aug 98

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Bacteria from diverse habitats in the marine environment adhere to inert surfaces through extracellular polysaccharides following initial contact with the substratum. Although proteins may also participate in the initial adhesion process, polysaccharides are the most obvious structures anchoring bacterial cells to surfaces after the initial contact event. A biofilm-forming marine bacterium, Hyphomonas strain VP-6, produces two separate adhesive surface polysaccharides a temporally synthesized, polar, neutral or positively-charged holdfast molecule, and a negatively-charged, capsular molecule which surrounds the cell. Another biofilm-forming marine bacterium, Hyphomonas strain MHS-3, produces a single adhesive polysaccharide, which surrounds the main body of the prosthecate cell, and is synthesized only at cell reproduction stages. Capsular polysaccharides produced by these bacteria also serve as the matrix for biofilm development. MHS-3 also produces proteinaceous polar fimbriae, which may tether the cell to the substratum during initial contact, but is not used as a holdfast during later stages of cell adhesion after excretion of adhesive polysaccharide. VP-6 also produces polar fimbriae, which may participate in adhesion. In addition, VP-6 produces a polysaccharide-associated 64-kDa protein, the function of which remains unclear. A molecular level approach to biological adhesion to solid surfaces in seawater medium offers a level of understanding of biofouling not previously achieved through cellular or population level studies.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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