1887

Abstract

The Gram-positive soil bacterium is able to choose between motile and sessile lifestyles. The sessile way of life, also referred to as biofilm, depends on the formation of an extracellular polysaccharide matrix and some extracellular proteins. Moreover, a significant proportion of cells in a biofilm form spores. The first two genes of the 15-gene operon for extracellular polysaccharide synthesis, and , encode a putative transmembrane modulator protein and a putative protein tyrosine kinase, respectively, with similarity to the TkmA/PtkA modulator/kinase couple. Here we show that the putative kinase EpsB is required for the formation of structured biofilms. However, an mutant is still able to form biofilms. As shown previously, a mutant is also partially defective in biofilm formation, but this defect is related to spore formation in the biofilm. The absence of both kinases resulted in a complete loss of biofilm formation. Thus, EpsB and PtkA fulfil complementary functions in biofilm formation. The activity of bacterial protein tyrosine kinases depends on their interaction with modulator proteins. Our results demonstrate the specific interaction between the putative kinase EpsB and its modulator protein EpsA and suggest that EpsB activity is stimulated by its modulator EpsA.

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2014-04-01
2020-05-26
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