Investigating the molecular basis of cold temperature and high pressure adapted growth in photobacterium profundum SS9
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Photobacterium profundum SS9 is a γ-proteobacterium which grows optimally at 15°C and 28 MPa (a psychrophilic piezophile) and can grow over a range of temperatures (2-20oC) and pressures (0.1-90 MPa). Previous research had demonstrated that P. profundum SS9 adapts its membrane proteins and phospholipids in response to growth conditions. In this study, methodology was developed for growing P. profundum SS9 under cold temperatures and high pressures in both liquid and solid cultures. The effect of changing growth conditions on cell envelope polysaccharides was then investigated. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) profile of a rifampicin resistant P. profundum SS9 derivative, SS9R, was shown to change at 0.1 MPa with respect to temperature and at 15°C with respect to pressure. Compositional analysis showed that the LPS was almost entirely composed of glucose. This provides evidence that, under these conditions, the major polysaccharide produced by P. profundum SS9 is a glucan. Two putative polysaccharide mutants, FL26 & FL9, were previously isolated from a screen for cold-sensitive mutants of P. profundum SS9R. Both mutants displayed an increased sensitivity to cold temperatures on solid medium and were unaffected in their growth at high pressure. FL26 was found to exhibit an LPS alteration similar to previously published O-antigen ligase mutants, providing evidence that this mutant is likely to lack O-antigen ligase. Interestingly, FL26 was also shown to have a reduced ability to form biofilms and had increased swimming motility. This suggests that there are a number of changes which occur in FL26 in the absence of O-antigen. FL9 was found to have an altered LPS and capsular polysaccharide (CPS), similar to an E. coli wzc mutant. In E. coli, Wzc is involved in the polymerisation and transport of CPS, disruption of which can also lead to LPS alterations. The LPS and CPS alterations may lead to the cold-sensitivity phenotype, either individually or in combination. In conclusion, alterations in the cell envelope polysaccharides were shown to affect cold temperature sensitivity on solid agar. Cold-sensitivity is most likely directly related to the LPS alterations and stability of the membrane under cold temperatures. Exopolysaccharides (EPS) have previously been shown to affect desiccation and freezethaw resistance, making it is possible that the CPS plays a similar role in this case.