Author(s): Ramaswamy S, Dworkin M, Downard J
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Abstract Calcofluor white is a fluorescent dye that binds to glycans and can be used to detect extracellular polysaccharide in Myxococcus xanthus and many other bacteria. We observed that an esg mutant showed less binding to calcofluor white than wild-type cells. Unlike S-motility mutants that share this phenotypic characteristic, the esg mutant exhibited S motility. This led us to identify a collection of nine new transposon insertion mutants, designated Cds (for calcofluor white binding deficient and S motile), which exhibited a phenotype similar to that of the esg strain. The Cds phenotype was found in 0.6\% of the random insertion mutants that were screened. The Cds mutants were also found to be defective in cell-cell agglutination and developmental aggregation. Extracellular matrix fibrils composed of roughly equal amounts of polysaccharide and protein have been shown to be involved in agglutination, and electron microscopic examination showed that esg and the other Cds mutants lack the wild-type level of fibrils. Analysis of total M. xanthus carbohydrate demonstrated that polysaccharide content increased by about 50\% when wild-type cells entered stationary phase. This induction was reduced or eliminated in all of the Cds mutants. The degree of polysaccharide deficiency in the Cds mutants correlated with the degree of loss of agglutination and dye binding as well as with the severity of the developmental aggregation defect. Preliminary genetic characterization demonstrated that the transposon insertion mutations in three of the Cds mutants (SR53, SR171, and SR200) were loosely linked. The results of this study suggest that many genes are involved in the production of calcofluor white binding polysaccharide material found in the extracellular matrix and that the polysaccharide is fibrillar. These results are also consistent with the findings of earlier studies which indicated that fibrils function to join agglutinating cells and to form multicellular fruiting aggregates.
This article was published in J Bacteriol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation