Summary: PAO1 possesses two distinct lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O-polysaccharide species, A- and B-band LPS, the relative expression of which appears to be under environmental control. In an attempt to identify the influence these LPS types have on surface characteristics and adhesion, we examined the surface hydrophobicity and surface charge of PAO1 (O5 serotype) and its isogenic LPS derivatives which possessed AB, AB and AB LPS. The surface characteristics of the strains affected their ability to adhere to hydrophilic (glass) and hydrophobic (polystyrene) surfaces. Cells possessing only A-band LPS demonstrated the highest surface hydrophobicity, followed by the strain lacking both A- and B-band LPS. The presence of B-band LPS resulted in a more hydrophilic surface. Strains lacking B-band LPS (AB and AB) had more electronegative surfaces than those possessing B-band LPS (AB and AB), with cells lacking both A- and B-band LPS showing the highest surface electronegativity. These data suggest that the main surface-charge-determining groups reside in the core region of the LPS molecule. Cells with the lowest surface hydrophobicity and lowest surface charge (AB, AB) adhered to glass the most efficiently, implying a role for electrostatic interaction, whereas adhesion to polystyrene mirrored the relative hydrophobicities of the strains (AB>AB>AB>AB). It is postulated that phenotypic variation in the relative expression of A- and B-band LPS may be a mechanism by which can alter its overall surface characteristics in such a way as to influence adhesion and favour survival.


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