Glycoside hydrolase processing of the Pel polysaccharide alters biofilm biomechanics and Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence

Erum Razvi, Gregory B. Whitfield, Courtney Reichhardt, Julia E. Dreifus, Alexandra R. Willis, Oxana B. Gluscencova, Erin S. Gloag, Tarek S. Awad, Jacquelyn D. Rich, Daniel Passos da Silva, Whitney Bond, François Le Mauff, Donald C. Sheppard, Benjamin D. Hatton, Paul Stoodley, Aaron W. Reinke, Gabrielle L. Boulianne, Daniel J. Wozniak, Joe J. Harrison, Matthew R. ParsekP. Lynne Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pel exopolysaccharide biosynthetic loci are phylogenetically widespread biofilm matrix determinants in bacteria. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pel is crucial for cell-to-cell interactions and reducing susceptibility to antibiotic and mucolytic treatments. While genes encoding glycoside hydrolases have long been linked to biofilm exopolysaccharide biosynthesis, their physiological role in biofilm development is unclear. Here we demonstrate that the glycoside hydrolase activity of P. aeruginosa PelA decreases adherent biofilm biomass and is responsible for generating the low molecular weight secreted form of the Pel exopolysaccharide. We show that the generation of secreted Pel contributes to the biomechanical properties of the biofilm and decreases the virulence of P. aeruginosa in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Our results reveal that glycoside hydrolases found in exopolysaccharide biosynthetic systems can help shape the soft matter attributes of a biofilm and propose that secreted matrix components be referred to as matrix associated to better reflect their influence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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