Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen that is one of the most refractory to therapy when it forms biofilms in the airways of cystic fibrosis patients. To date, studies regarding the production of an immunogenic and protective antigen to inhibit biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa have been superficial. The previously uncharacterized outer membrane protein (OMP) Opr86 (PA3648) of P. aeruginosa is a member of the Omp85 family, of which homologs have been found in all gram-negative bacteria. Here we verify the availability of Opr86 as a protective antigen to inhibit biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa PAO1 and several other isolates. A mutant was constructed in which Opr86 expression could be switched on or off through a tac promoter-controlled opr86 gene. The result, consistent with previous Omp85 studies, showed that Opr86 is essential for viability and plays a role in OMP assembly. Depletion of Opr86 resulted in streptococci-like morphological changes and liberation of excess membrane vesicles. A polyclonal antibody against Opr86 which showed reactivity to PAO1 cells was obtained. The antibody inhibited biofilm formation by PAO1 and the other clinical strains tested. Closer examination of early attachment revealed that cells treated with the antibody were unable to attach to the surface. Our data suggest that Opr86 is a critical OMP and a potential candidate as a protective antigen against biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa.
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