Journal of bioscience and bioengineering

Probing of exopolysaccharides with green fluorescence protein-labeled carbohydrate-binding module in Escherichia coli biofilms and flocs induced by bcsB overexpression.

PMID 24746734


Polysaccharides are major structural constituents to develop the three-dimensional architecture of Escherichia coli biofilms. In this study, confocal laser scanning microscopy was applied in combination with a fluorescent probe to analyze the location and arrangement of exopolysaccharide (EPSh) in microcolonies of E. coli K-12 derived strains, formed as biofilms on solid surfaces and flocs in the liquid phase. For this purpose, a novel fluorescent probe was constructed by conjugating a carbohydrate-binding module 3, from Paenibacillus curdlanolyticus, with the green fluorescence protein (GFP-CBM3). The GFP-CBM3 fused protein exhibited strong affinity to microcrystalline cellulose. Moreover, GFP-CBM3 specifically bound to cell-dense microcolonies in the E. coli biofilms, and to their flocs induced by bcsB overexpression. Therefore, the fused protein presents as a novel marker for EPSh produced by E. coli cells. Overexpression of bcsB was associated with abundant EPSh production and enhanced E. coli biofilm formation, which was similarly detectable by GFP-CBM3 probing.