It was observed that when cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa became anaerobic, or when metabolic poisons were added, partial lysis occurred. Presumably, dissipation of protonmotive force resulted in deregulation of autolysins. The lytic events released cytoplasmic lectins called PA-I and PA-II from the bacteria. The released lectins, when mixed with intact P. aeruginosa, caused the bacteria to bind to rabbit corneal epithelial culture cells. Control experiments established that the adhesion can be reversed by D-galactose and D-mannose, sugars specific for PA-I and PA-II, respectively. Furthermore, these sugars had no effect on the adhesion of lectin-free P. aeruginosa. It is suggested that when some members of a population of P. aeruginosa experience loss of regulation of protonic potential, the resulting lysis may be an advantage to survivors. This newly proposed mechanism for the adhesion of P. aeruginosa appears to be a case in which the dying cells contribute to the future success of living offspring.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the March of Dimes and the US-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation (BSF), Jerusalem, Israel (grant No 89-00454).
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- energised membrane