Applied and environmental microbiology

Influence of the Photorhabdus luminescens phosphomannose isomerase gene, manA, on mannose utilization, exopolysaccharide structure, and biofilm formation.

PMID 21148694


Extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) is produced by diverse bacterial pathogens and fulfills assorted roles, including providing a structural matrix for biofilm formation and more specific functions in virulence, such as protection against immune defenses. We report here the first investigation of some of the genes important for biofilm formation in Photorhabdus luminescens and demonstrate the key role of the phosphomannose isomerase gene, manA, in the structure of functional EPS. Phenotypic analyses of a manA-deficient mutant showed the importance of EPS in motility, insect virulence, and biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces as well as the requirement of this gene for the use of mannose as the sole carbon source. Conversely, this defect had no apparent impact on symbiosis with the heterorhabditid nematode vector. A more detailed analysis of biofilm formation revealed that the manA mutant was able to attach to surfaces with the same efficiency as that of the wild-type strain but could not develop the more extended biofilm matrix structures. A compositional analysis of P. luminescens EPS reveals how the manA mutation has a major effect on the formation of a complete, branched EPS.