Influence of O polysaccharides on biofilm development and outer membrane vesicle biogenesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1

J Bacteriol. 2014 Apr;196(7):1306-17. doi: 10.1128/JB.01463-13. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common opportunistic human pathogen known for its ability to adapt to changes in its environment during the course of infection. These adaptations include changes in the expression of cell surface lipopolysaccharide (LPS), biofilm development, and the production of a protective extracellular exopolysaccharide matrix. Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) have been identified as an important component of the extracellular matrix of P. aeruginosa biofilms and are thought to contribute to the development and fitness of these bacterial communities. The goal of this study was to examine the relationships between changes in the cell surface expression of LPS O polysaccharides, biofilm development, and OMV biogenesis in P. aeruginosa. We compared wild-type P. aeruginosa PAO1 with three chromosomal knockouts. These knockouts have deletions in the rmd, wbpM, and wbpL genes that produce changes in the expression of common polysaccharide antigen (CPA), O-specific antigen (OSA), or both. Our results demonstrate that changes in O polysaccharide expression do not significantly influence OMV production but do affect the size and protein content of OMVs derived from both CPA(-) and OSA(-) cells; these mutant cells also exhibited different physical properties from wild-type cells. We further examined biofilm growth of the mutants and determined that CPA(-) cells could not develop into robust biofilms and exhibit changes in cell morphology and biofilm matrix production. Together these results demonstrate the importance of O polysaccharide expression on P. aeruginosa OMV composition and highlight the significance of CPA expression in biofilm development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biofilms*
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • O Antigens / genetics
  • O Antigens / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • O Antigens