Pseudomonas aeruginosa B-band O-antigen chain length is modulated by Wzz (Ro1).
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The wbp gene cluster, encoding the B-band lipopolysaccharide O antigen of Pseudomonas aeruginosa serotype O5 strain PAO1, was previously shown to contain a wzy (rfc) gene encoding the O-antigen polymerase. This study describes the molecular characterization of the corresponding wzz (rol) gene, responsible for modulating O-antigen chain length. P. aeruginosa O5 Wzz has 19 to 20% amino acid identity with Wzz of Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, and Shigella flexneri. Knockout mutations of the wzz gene in serotypes O5 and O16 (which has an O antigen structurally related to that of O5) yielded mutants expressing O antigens with a distribution of chain lengths differing markedly from that of the parent strains. Unlike enteric wzz mutants, the P. aeruginosa wzz mutants continued to display some chain length modulation. The P. aeruginosa O5 wzz gene complemented both O5 and O16 wzz mutants as well as an E. coli wzz mutant. Coexpression of E. coli and P. aeruginosa wzz genes in a rough strain of E. coli carrying the P. aeruginosa wbp cluster resulted in the expression of two populations of O-antigen chain lengths. Sequence analysis of the region upstream of wzz led to identification of the genes rpsA and himD, encoding 30S ribosomal subunit protein S1 and integration host factor, respectively. This finding places rpsA and himD adjacent to wzz and the wbp cluster at 37 min on the PAO1 chromosomal map and completes the delineation of the O5 serogroup-specific region of the wbp cluster.
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