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Surface-layer is a public-good matrix exopolymer for microbial community organisation in environmental anammox biofilms

4. marts 2023

Delving into the mysteries of biofilm components, we examine the role and impact of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in an anammox biofilm, especially within non-culturable environmental microbes.

Abstract: Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) are core biofilm components, yet how they mediate interactions within and contribute to the structuring of biofilms is largely unknown, particularly for non-culturable microbial communities that predominate in environmental habitats. To address this knowledge gap, we explored the role of EPS in an anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) biofilm. An extracellular glycoprotein, BROSI_A1236, from an anammox bacterium, formed envelopes around the anammox cells, supporting its identification as a surface (S-) layer protein. However, the S-layer protein also appeared at the edge of the biofilm, in close proximity to the polysaccharide-coated filamentous Chloroflexi bacteria but distal to the anammox bacterial cells. The Chloroflexi bacteria assembled into a cross-linked network at the edge of the granules and surrounding anammox cell clusters, with the S-layer protein occupying the space around the Chloroflexi. The anammox S-layer protein was also abundant at junctions between Chloroflexi cells. Thus, the S-layer protein is likely transported through the matrix as an EPS and also acts as an adhesive to facilitate the assembly of filamentous Chloroflexi into a three-dimensional biofilm lattice. The spatial distribution of the S-layer protein within the mixed species biofilm suggests that it is a “public-good” EPS, which facilitates the assembly of other bacteria into a framework for the benefit of the biofilm community, and enables key syntrophic relationships, including anammox.

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