LecA (PA-IL) is a cytotoxic lectin and adhesin produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa which binds hydrophobic galactosides with high specificity and affinity. By using a lecA-egfp translation fusion and immunoblot analysis of the biofilm extracellular matrix, we show that lecA is expressed in biofilm-grown cells. In static biofilm assays on both polystyrene and stainless steel, biofilm depth and surface coverage was reduced by mutation of lecA and enhanced in the LecA-overproducing strain PAO-P47. Biofilm surface coverage by the parent strain, PAO-P47 but not the lecA mutant on steel coupons was also inhibited by growth in the presence of either isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactoside (IPTG) or p-nitrophenyl-alpha-D-galactoside (NPG). Furthermore, mature wild-type biofilms formed in the absence of these hydrophobic galactosides could be dispersed by the addition of IPTG. In contrast, addition of p-nitrophenyl-alpha-L-fucose (NPF) which has a high affinity for the P. aeruginosa LecB (PA-IIL) lectin had no effect on biofilm formation or dispersal. Planktonic growth of P. aeruginosa PAO1 was unaffected by the presence of IPTG, NPG or NPF, nor was the strain able to utilize these sugars as carbon sources, suggesting that the observed effects on biofilm formation were due to the competitive inhibition of LecA-ligand binding. Similar results were also obtained for biofilms grown under dynamic flow conditions on steel coupons, suggesting that LecA contributes to P. aeruginosa biofilm architecture under different environmental conditions.
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