Oct 22, 2008

Loss of a biofilm-inhibiting glycosyl hydrolase during the emergence of Yersinia pestis

Journal of Bacteriology
David L EricksonB Joseph Hinnebusch


Yersinia pestis, the bacterial agent of plague, forms a biofilm in the foregut of its flea vector to produce a transmissible infection. The closely related Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, from which Y. pestis recently evolved, can colonize the flea midgut but does not form a biofilm in the foregut. Y. pestis biofilm in the flea and in vitro is dependent on an extracellular matrix synthesized by products of the hms genes; identical genes are present in Y. pseudotuberculosis. The Yersinia Hms proteins contain functional domains present in Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus proteins known to synthesize a poly-beta-1,6-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine biofilm matrix. In this study, we show that the extracellular matrices (ECM) of Y. pestis and staphylococcal biofilms are antigenically related, indicating a similar biochemical structure. We also characterized a glycosyl hydrolase (NghA) of Y. pseudotuberculosis that cleaved beta-linked N-acetylglucosamine residues and reduced biofilm formation by staphylococci and Y. pestis in vitro. The Y. pestis nghA ortholog is a pseudogene, and overexpression of functional nghA reduced ECM surface accumulation and inhibited the ability of Y. pestis to produce biofilm in the flea foregut. Mutational loss of ...Continue Reading

  • References44
  • Citations29


  • References44
  • Citations29

Mentioned in this Paper

Bacterial Proteins
Glycosidase Activity
Unspecified Staphylococcus Infection in Conditions Classified Elsewhere and of Unspecified Site
Extracellular Matrix
Gene Deletion
Genus staphylococcus
Yersinia <bacteria>
Poly A

Related Feeds

Biofilm & Infectious Disease

Biofilm formation is a key virulence factor for a wide range of microorganisms that cause chronic infections.Here is the latest research on biofilm and infectious diseases.


Biofilms are adherent bacterial communities embedded in a polymer matrix and can cause persistent human infections that are highly resistant to antibiotics. Discover the latest research on Biofilms here.