Localization of emulsan-like polymers associated with the cell surface of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus

O. Pines, E. A. Bayer, D. L. Gutnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Various immunochemical techniques were employed to probe the relationship between the extracellular emulsifying agent (emulsan) and the cell-associated form of the polymer in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1. Using an emulsan-specific antibody preparation, immunocytochemical labeling revealed that an emulsan-like antigen is a major component of the 125-nm minicapsule which envelopes the exponential-phase cell of the parent strain. The marked reduction of this capsule in stationary-phase cells was correlated with the production of extracellular emulsifying activity. Crossed immunoelectrophoresis techniques demonstrated that the major antigenic component (S1) of the culture supernatant fluid is immunochemically identical to purified emulsan, yet electrophoretically distinct. The characteristics of the parent strain were compared with those of two phage-resistant mutant strains which are defective in extracellular emulsan production. One of these mutants, termed TR3, lacked both the emulsan-like capsule on the cell surface and the extracellular S1 component. A second phage-resistant emulsan-defective mutant (TL4) was characterized by an antigenically altered and inactive form of extracellular emulsan. A relatively small amount of emulsan-like capsular material was consistently demonstrated on the cell surface of this mutant. The correlation between phage sensitivity and extracellular emulsan production was strengthened by the fact that emulsan-specific antibodies inhibited both emulsification activity and phage adsorption onto cells of the parent strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-905
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume154
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983

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