Challenges and opportunities in elucidating the structures of biofilm exopolysaccharides: A case study of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa exopolysaccharide called Pel

Kristen Amyx-Sherer, Courtney Reichhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Biofilm formation protects bacteria from antibiotic treatment and host immune responses, making biofilm infections difficult to treat. Within biofilms, bacterial cells are entangled in a self-produced extracellular matrix that typically includes exopolysaccharides. Molecular-level descriptions of biofilm matrix components, especially exopolysaccharides, have been challenging to attain due to their complex nature and lack of solubility and crystallinity. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has emerged as a key tool to determine the structure of biofilm matrix exopolysaccharides without degradative sample preparation. In this review, we discuss challenges of studying biofilm matrix exopolysaccharides and opportunities to develop solid-state NMR approaches to study these generally intractable materials. We specifically highlight investigations of the exopolysaccharide called Pel made by the opportunistic pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We provide a roadmap for determining exopolysaccharide structure and discuss future opportunities to study such systems using solid-state NMR. The strategies discussed for elucidating biofilm exopolysaccharide structure should be broadly applicable to studying the structures of other glycans.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Chemistry
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • C
  • N
  • P
  • biofilm
  • biofilm matrix
  • EPS
  • exopolysaccharides
  • NMR
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • solid-state NMR

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