Surface protein composition of Aeromonas hydrophila strains virulent for fish: identification of a surface array protein.

JSG Dooley, Trevor Trust

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The surface protein composition of members of a serogroup of Aeromonas hydrophila which exhibit high virulence for fish was examined. Treatment of whole cells of representative strain A. hydrophila TF7 with 0.2 M glycine buffer (pH 4.0) resulted in the release of sheets of a tetragonal surface protein array. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis showed that this sheet material was composed primarily of a protein of apparent molecular weight 52,000 (52K protein). A 52K protein was also the predominant protein in glycine extracts of other members of the high-virulence serogroup. Immunoblotting with antiserum raised against formalinized whole cells of A. hydrophila TF7 showed the 52K S-layer protein to be the major surface protein antigen, and impermeant Sulfo-NHS-Biotin cell surface labeling showed that the 52K S-layer protein was the only protein accessible to the Sulfo-NHS-Biotin label and effectively masked underlying outer membrane (OM) proteins. In its native surface conformation the 52K S-layer protein was only weakly reactive with a lactoperoxidase 125I surface iodination procedure. A UV-induced rough lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mutant of TF7 was found to produce an intact S layer, but a deep rough LPS mutant was unable to maintain an array on the cell surface and excreted the S-layer protein into the growth medium, indicating that a minimum LPS oligosaccharide size was required for A. hydrophila S-layer anchoring. The 52K S-layer protein exhibited hear-dependent SDS-solubilization behavior when associated with OM, but was fully solubilized at all temperatures after removal from the OM, indicating a strong interaction of the S layer with the underlying OM. The native S layer was permeable to 125I in the lactoperoxidase radiolabeling procedure, and two major OM proteins of molecular weights 30,000 and 48,000 were iodinated. The 48K species was a peptidoglycan-associated, transmembrane protein which exhibited heat-modifiable SDS solubilization behaviour characteristic of a porin protein. A 50K major peptidoglycan-associated OM protein which was not radiolabeled exhibited similar SDS heat modification characteristics and possibly represents a second porin protein.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Feb 1988


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