Horizontal transfer of an exopolymer complex from one bacterial species to another

D. Osterreicher-Ravid, E. Z. Ron, E. Rosenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alasan, the exocellular polymeric emulsifier produced by Acinetobacter radioresistens KA53 was shown to bind to the surface of Sphingomonas paucimobilis EPA505 and Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1. The presence of alasan on the surface of S. paucimobilis EPA505 and A. calcoaceticus RAG-1 caused a decrease in their cell-surface hydrophobicities. Binding was proportional to the concentration of recipient cells and input alasan. At the highest concentration of A. calcoaceticus RAG-1 (4 × 109 ml-1) and alasan (20 μg ml-1) tested, 75% of the alasan was cell bound. Alasan binding was measured by the loss of emulsifying activity and alasan protein and polysaccharide from the aqueous phase after incubation of alasan with the recipient cells. In addition, alasan was visualized on the surface of the recipient cells by staining with anti-alasan antibodies and rhodamine-labelled secondary antibodies. Moreover, when the alasan-producing A. radioresistens KA53 was grown together with A. calcoaceticus RAG-1, alasan was released from the producing strain and became bound to the recipient RAG-1 cells, as demonstrated by fluorescence microscopy. This horizontal transfer of exopolymers from one bacterial species to another has significant implications in natural microbial communities, coaggregation and biofilms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-372
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


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