Genomic Engineering Group / InteLAB
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Thursday, 22 February 2018
Cellulose Biosynthesis PDF Print

Cellulose biosynthesis by the β-proteobacterium Chromobacterium violaceum
Although cellulose production is widely distributed between several bacterial species including at least the groups of Gram-negative proteobacteria alpha and gamma, cellulose production by β-proteobacteria has never been previously experimentally reported. Previous annotation reported the presence of cellulose biosynthesis genes in that genome. Analysis of these genes revealed that, as observed in other bacteria, they are organized in two operons. We have produced experimental evidences of the presence of cellulose in the extracellular matrix of the biofilm produced by C. violaceum in static cultures, never previously reported, to our knowledge. Biofilm samples were enzymatically digested by cellulase, releasing glucose units, suggesting the presence of cellulose as an extracellular matrix component. Fluorescence microscopy observations revealed that C. violaceum produces a cellulase-sensitive extracellular matrix composed of fibers able to bind Calcofluor. C. violaceum grows on medium containing Congo red forming brown-red colonies. Together, these results show that cellulase-susceptible matrix material is cellulose. Scanning electronic microscopy analysis revealed that the extracellular matrix exhibited a network of microfibrils, typical of bacterial cellulose.

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