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Molecular characterization of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa serotype O5 (PAO1) B-band lipopolysaccharide gene cluster


J. S. Lam E-mail; Tel. (519) 824 4120 ext. 3823; Fax (519) 8371802.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa co-expresses A-band lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a homopolymer of rhamnose, and B-band LPS, a heteropolymer with a repeating unit of 2–5 sugars which is the serotype-specific antigen. The gene clusters for A- and B-band biosynthesis in P. aeruginosa O5 (strain PAO1) have been cloned previously. Here we report the DNA sequence and molecular analysis of the B-band O-antigen biosynthetic cluster. Sixteen open reading frames (ORFs) thought to be involved in synthesis of the O5 O antigen were identified, including wzz (rol), wzy (rfc), and wbpAwbpN. A further 3 ORFs not thought to be involved with LPS synthesis were identified (hisH, hisF, and uvrB). Most of the wbp genes are found only in serotypes O2, O5, O16, O18, and O20, which form a chemically and structurally related O-antigen serogroup. In contrast, wbpM and wbpN are common to all 20 serotypes of P. aeruginosa. Although wbpM is not serogroup-specific, knockout mutations confirmed it is necessary for O5 O-antigen biosynthesis. A novel insertion sequence, IS1209, is present at the junction between the serogroup-specific and non-specific regions. We have predicted the functions of the proteins encoded in the wbp cluster based on their homologies to those in the databases, and provide a proposed pathway of P. aeruginosa O5 O-antigen biosynthesis.