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In JoVE (1)
- An Analytical Tool-box for Comprehensive Biochemical, Structural and Transcriptome Evaluation of Oral Biofilms Mediated by Mutans Streptococci
Other Publications (16)
- Microbiology (Reading, England)
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology
- Molecular Microbiology
- FEBS Letters
- Molecular Microbiology
- Molecular Pharmacology
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology
- The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
- Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening
- Methods in Enzymology
- Assay and Drug Development Technologies
- Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology
- Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology
Articles by Arne Heydorn in JoVE
An Analytical Tool-box for Comprehensive Biochemical, Structural and Transcriptome Evaluation of Oral Biofilms Mediated by Mutans Streptococci
Marlise I. Klein1, Jin Xiao1,2, Arne Heydorn3, Hyun Koo1,4
1Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester Medical Center, 2State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, Sichuan University, 3Department of General Medicine, Glostrup Hospital, Glostrup, Denmark, 4Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center
Biofilms formed on tooth surfaces are highly complex and exposed to constant innate and exogenous environmental challenges, which modulate their architecture, physiology and transcriptome. We developed a toolbox to examine the composition, structural organization and gene expression of oral biofilms, which can be adapted to other areas of biofilm research.
Other articles by Arne Heydorn on PubMed
Inhibition of Quorum Sensing in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Biofilm Bacteria by a Halogenated Furanone Compound
Microbiology (Reading, England). Jan, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11782502
Novel molecular tools have been constructed which allow for in situ detection of N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. The reporter responds to AHL activation of LasR by expression of an unstable version of the green-fluorescent protein (Gfp). Gfp-based reporter technology has been applied for non-destructive, single-cell-level detection of quorum sensing in laboratory-based P. aeruginosa biofilms. It is reported that a synthetic halogenated furanone compound, which is a derivative of the secondary metabolites produced by the Australian macroalga Delisea pulchra, is capable of interfering with AHL-mediated quorum sensing in P. aeruginosa. It is demonstrated that the furanone compound specifically represses expression of a PlasB-gfp reporter fusion without affecting growth or protein synthesis. In addition, it reduces the production of important virulence factors, indicating a general effect on target genes of the las quorum sensing circuit. The furanone was applied to P. aeruginosa biofilms established in biofilm flow chambers. The Gfp-based analysis reveals that the compound penetrates microcolonies and blocks cell signalling and quorum sensing in most biofilm cells. The compound did not affect initial attachment to the abiotic substratum. It does, however, affect the architecture of the biofilm and enhances the process of bacterial detachment, leading to a loss of bacterial biomass from the substratum.
Statistical Analysis of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Biofilm Development: Impact of Mutations in Genes Involved in Twitching Motility, Cell-to-cell Signaling, and Stationary-phase Sigma Factor Expression
Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Apr, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11916724
Four strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (wild type, Delta(pil)HIJK mutant, lasI mutant, and rpoS mutant) were genetically tagged with the green fluorescent protein, and the development of flow chamber-grown biofilms by each of them was investigated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The structural developments of the biofilms were quantified by the computer program COMSTAT (A. Heydorn, A. T. Nielsen, M. Hentzer, C. Sternberg, M. Givskov, B. K. Ersbøll, and S. Molin, Microbiology 146:2395-2407, 2000). Two structural key variables, average thickness and roughness, formed the basis for an analysis of variance model comprising the four P. aeruginosa strains, five time points (55, 98, 146, 242, and 314 h), and three independent rounds of biofilm experiments. The results showed that the wild type, the Delta(pil)HIJK mutant, and the rpoS mutant display conspicuously different types of temporal biofilm development, whereas the lasI mutant was indistinguishable from the wild type at all time points. The wild type and the lasI mutant formed uniform, densely packed biofilms. The rpoS mutant formed densely packed biofilms that were significantly thicker than those of the wild type, whereas the Delta(pil)HIJK mutant formed distinct microcolonies that were regularly spaced and almost uniform in size. The results are discussed in relation to the current model of P. aeruginosa biofilm development.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology. May, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11976126
We analyzed metabolic interactions and the importance of specific structural relationships in a benzyl alcohol-degrading microbial consortium comprising two species, Pseudomonas putida strain R1 and Acinetobacter strain C6, both of which are able to utilize benzyl alcohol as their sole carbon and energy source. The organisms were grown either as surface-attached organisms (biofilms) in flow chambers or as suspended cultures in chemostats. The numbers of CFU of P. putida R1 and Acinetobacter strain C6 were determined in chemostats and from the effluents of the flow chambers. When the two species were grown together in chemostats with limiting concentrations of benzyl alcohol, Acinetobacter strain C6 outnumbered P. putida R1 (500:1), whereas under similar growth conditions in biofilms, P. putida R1 was present in higher numbers than Acinetobacter strain C6 (5:1). In order to explain this difference, investigations of microbial activities and structural relationships were carried out in the biofilms. Insertion into P. putida R1 of a fusion between the growth rate-regulated rRNA promoter rrnBP1 and a gfp gene encoding an unstable variant of the green fluorescent protein made it possible to monitor the physiological activity of P. putida R1 cells at different positions in the biofilms. Combining this with fluorescent in situ hybridization and scanning confocal laser microscopy showed that the two organisms compete or display commensal interactions depending on their relative physical positioning in the biofilm. In the initial phase of biofilm development, the growth activity of P. putida R1 was shown to be higher near microcolonies of Acinetobacter strain C6. High-pressure liquid chromatography analysis showed that in the effluent of the Acinetobacter strain C6 monoculture biofilm the metabolic intermediate benzoate accumulated, whereas in the biculture biofilms this was not the case, suggesting that in these biofilms the excess benzoate produced by Acinetobacter strain C6 leaks into the surrounding environment, from where it is metabolized by P. putida R1. After a few days, Acinetobacter strain C6 colonies were overgrown by P. putida R1 cells and new structures developed, in which microcolonies of Acinetobacter strain C6 cells were established in the upper layer of the biofilm. In this way the two organisms developed structural relationships allowing Acinetobacter strain C6 to be close to the bulk liquid with high concentrations of benzyl alcohol and allowing P. putida R1 to benefit from the benzoate leaking from Acinetobacter strain C6. We conclude that in chemostats, where the organisms cannot establish in fixed positions, the two strains will compete for the primary carbon source, benzyl alcohol, which apparently gives Acinetobacter strain C6 a growth advantage, probably because it converts benzyl alcohol to benzoate with a higher yield per time unit than P. putida R1. In biofilms, however, the organisms establish structured, surface-attached consortia, in which heterogeneous ecological niches develop, and under these conditions competition for the primary carbon source is not the only determinant of biomass and population structure.
Molecular Microbiology. Jun, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12791135
Biofilm formation by Gfp-tagged Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 wild type, flagella and type IV pili mutants in flow chambers irrigated with citrate minimal medium was characterized by the use of confocal laser scanning microscopy and comstat image analysis. Flagella and type IV pili were not necessary for P. aeruginosa initial attachment or biofilm formation, but the cell appendages had roles in biofilm development, as wild type, flagella and type IV pili mutants formed biofilms with different structures. Dynamics and selection during biofilm formation were investigated by tagging the wild type and flagella/type IV mutants with Yfp and Cfp and performing time-lapse confocal laser scanning microscopy in mixed colour biofilms. The initial microcolony formation occurred by clonal growth, after which wild-type P. aeruginosa bacteria spread over the substratum by means of twitching motility. The wild-type biofilms were dynamic compositions with extensive motility, competition and selection occurring during development. Bacterial migration prevented the formation of larger microcolonial structures in the wild-type biofilms. The results are discussed in relation to the current model for P. aeruginosa biofilm development.
Distinct in Vitro Interaction Pattern of Dopamine Receptor Subtypes with Adaptor Proteins Involved in Post-endocytotic Receptor Targeting
FEBS Letters. Jan, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14706863
The mechanisms underlying targeted sorting of endocytosed receptors for recycling to the plasma membrane or degradation in lysosomes are poorly understood. In this report, the C-terminal tails of the five dopamine receptors (D1-D5) were expressed as glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins and studied for their interaction with ezrin-radixin-moesin-binding phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50) and N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF), which are known to be involved in post-endocytic recycling of receptors back to the plasma membrane, and with sorting nexin 1 (SNX1), known to be involved in targeting receptors to lysosomal degradation. EBP50 did not bind any of the dopamine receptor tails. NSF bound strongly to D1 and D5 and only weakly to D2, D3 and D4. However, SNX1 clearly distinguished between D1 and D5, as only D5 bound strongly to this protein. This report shows that there are distinct interaction patterns for NSF and SNX1 to the various dopamine receptor subtypes.
Molecular Microbiology. Jul, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15228530
Reversible phase variation between the rugose and smooth colony variants is predicted to be important for the survival of Vibrio cholerae in natural aquatic habitats. Microarray expression profiling studies of the rugose and smooth variants of the same strain led to the identification of 124 differentially regulated genes. Further expression profiling experiments showed how these genes are regulated by the VpsR and HapR transcription factors, which, respectively, positively and negatively regulate production of VPS(El Tor), a rugose-associated extracellular polysaccharide. The study of mutants of rpoN and rpoS demonstrated the effects of these alternative sigma factors on phase variation-specific gene expression. Bioinformatics analysis of these expression data shows that 'rugosity' and 'smoothness' are determined by a complex hierarchy of positive and negative regulators, which also affect the biofilm, surface hydrophobicity and motility phenotypes of the organism.
Identification of a Novel Site Within G Protein Alpha Subunits Important for Specificity of Receptor-G Protein Interaction
Molecular Pharmacology. Aug, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15266015
Several domains of G protein alpha subunits are implicated in the control of receptor-G protein coupling specificity. Among these are the extreme N-and C-termini, the alpha4/beta6-loops, and the loop linking the N-terminal alpha-helix to the beta1-strand of the ras-like domain. In this study, we illustrate that single-point mutations of a highly conserved glycine residue within the linker I region of the Galpha(q) subunit confers upon the mutant Galpha(q) the ability to be activated by Galpha(i)- and Galpha(s) -coupled receptors, as evidenced by guanosine 5'-O-(3-[(35)S]thio)triphosphate binding and inositol phosphate turnover assays. The mutations did not affect expression of Galpha(q) proteins nor their ability to stimulate phospholipase Cbeta. It is noteworthy that both mutant and wild-type Galpha(q) proteins are indistinguishable in their ability to reconstitute a functional Gq-PLCbeta-calcium signaling pathway when cotransfected with the Galpha(q)-coupled neurokinin 1 or muscarinic M3 receptor into mouse embryonic fibroblasts derived from Galpha(q/11) knockout mice. On a three-dimensional model of the receptor-G protein complex, the highly conserved linker I region connecting the helical and the GTPase domain of the Galpha protein is inaccessible to the intracellular surface of the receptors. Our data indicate that receptor-G protein coupling specificity is not exclusively governed by direct receptor-G protein interaction and that it even bypasses the requirement of the extreme C terminus of Galpha, a well accepted receptor recognition domain, suggesting a novel allosteric mechanism for G protein-coupled receptor-G protein selectivity.
A Library of 7TM Receptor C-terminal Tails. Interactions with the Proposed Post-endocytic Sorting Proteins ERM-binding Phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50), N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive Factor (NSF), Sorting Nexin 1 (SNX1), and G Protein-coupled Receptor-associated Sorting Protein (GASP)
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dec, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15452121
Adaptor and scaffolding proteins determine the cellular targeting, the spatial, and thereby the functional association of G protein-coupled seven-transmembrane receptors with co-receptors, transducers, and downstream effectors and the adaptors determine post-signaling events such as receptor sequestration through interactions, mainly with the C-terminal intracellular tails of the receptors. A library of tails from 59 representative members of the super family of seven-transmembrane receptors was probed as glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins for interactions with four different adaptor proteins previously proposed to be involved in post-endocytotic sorting of receptors. Of the two proteins suggested to target receptors for recycling to the cell membrane, which is the route believed to be taken by a majority of receptors, ERM (ezrin-radixin-moesin)-binding phosphoprotein 50 (EBP50) bound only a single receptor tail, i.e. the beta(2)-adrenergic receptor, whereas N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor bound 11 of the tail-fusion proteins. Of the two proteins proposed to target receptors for lysosomal degradation, sorting nexin 1 (SNX1) bound 10 and the C-terminal domain of G protein-coupled receptor-associated sorting protein bound 23 of the 59 tail proteins. Surface plasmon resonance analysis of the binding kinetics of selected hits from the glutathione S-transferase pull-down experiments, i.e. the tails of the virally encoded receptor US28 and the delta-opioid receptor, confirmed the expected nanomolar affinities for interaction with SNX1. Truncations of the NK(1) receptor revealed that an extended binding epitope is responsible for the interaction with both SNX1 and G protein-coupled receptor-associated sorting protein as well as with N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor. It is concluded that the tail library provides useful information on the general importance of certain adaptor proteins, for example, in this case, ruling out EBP50 as being a broad spectrum-recycling adaptor.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Oct, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15466566
In this study, stratified patterns of protein synthesis and growth were demonstrated in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Spatial patterns of protein synthetic activity inside biofilms were characterized by the use of two green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene constructs. One construct carried an isopropyl-beta-d-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG)-inducible gfpmut2 gene encoding a stable GFP. The second construct carried a GFP derivative, gfp-AGA, encoding an unstable GFP under the control of the growth-rate-dependent rrnBp(1) promoter. Both GFP reporters indicated that active protein synthesis was restricted to a narrow band in the part of the biofilm adjacent to the source of oxygen. The zone of active GFP expression was approximately 60 microm wide in colony biofilms and 30 microm wide in flow cell biofilms. The region of the biofilm in which cells were capable of elongation was mapped by treating colony biofilms with carbenicillin, which blocks cell division, and then measuring individual cell lengths by transmission electron microscopy. Cell elongation was localized at the air interface of the biofilm. The heterogeneous anabolic patterns measured inside these biofilms were likely a result of oxygen limitation in the biofilm. Oxygen microelectrode measurements showed that oxygen only penetrated approximately 50 microm into the biofilm. P. aeruginosa was incapable of anaerobic growth in the medium used for this investigation. These results show that while mature P. aeruginosa biofilms contain active, growing cells, they can also harbor large numbers of cells that are inactive and not growing.
A Highly Conserved Glycine Within Linker I and the Extreme C Terminus of G Protein Alpha Subunits Interact Cooperatively in Switching G Protein-coupled Receptor-to-effector Specificity
The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Apr, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15615862
Numerous studies have attested to the importance of the extreme C terminus of G protein alpha subunits in determining their selectivity of receptor recognition. We have previously reported that a highly conserved glycine residue within linker I is important for constraining the fidelity of receptor recognition by Galpha(q) proteins. Herein, we explored whether both modules (linker I and extreme C terminus) interact cooperatively in switching G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-to-effector specificity and created as models mutant Galpha(q) proteins in which glycine was replaced with various amino acids and the C-terminal five Galpha(q) residues with the corresponding Galpha(i) or Galpha(s) sequence. Coupling properties of the mutated Galpha(q) proteins were determined after coexpression with a panel of 13 G(i)-and G(s) -selective receptors and compared with those of Galpha proteins modified in only one module. Galpha proteins modified in both modules are significantly more efficacious in channeling non-G(q) -selective receptors to G(q)-mediated signaling events compare with those containing each module alone. Additive effects of both modules were observed even if individual modules lacked an effect on GPCR-to-effector specificity. Dually modified Galpha proteins were also superior in conferring high-affinity agonist sites onto a coexpressed GPCR in the absence, but not in the presence, of guanine nucleotides. Together, our data suggest that receptor-G protein coupling selectivity involves cooperative interactions between the extreme C terminus and linker I of Galpha proteins and that distinct determinants of selectivity exist for individual receptors.
High Content Screening for G Protein-coupled Receptors Using Cell-based Protein Translocation Assays
Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening. Jun, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16101006
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have been one of the most productive classes of drug targets for several decades, and new technologies for GPCR-based discovery promise to keep this field active for years to come. While molecular screens for GPCR receptor agonist- and antagonist-based drugs will continue to be valuable discovery tools, the most exciting developments in the field involve cell-based assays for GPCR function. Some cell-based discovery strategies, such as the use of beta-arrestin as a surrogate marker for GPCR function, have already been reduced to practice, and have been used as valuable discovery tools for several years. The application of high content cell-based screening to GPCR discovery has opened up additional possibilities, such as direct tracking of GPCRs, G proteins and other signaling pathway components using intracellular translocation assays. These assays provide the capability to probe GPCR function at the cellular level with better resolution than has previously been possible, and offer practical strategies for more definitive selectivity evaluation and counter-screening in the early stages of drug discovery. The potential of cell-based translocation assays for GPCR discovery is described, and proof-of-concept data from a pilot screen with a CXCR4 assay are presented. This chemokine receptor is a highly relevant drug target which plays an important role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory disease and also has been shown to be a co-receptor for entry of HIV into cells as well as to play a role in metastasis of certain cancer cells.
Protein Translocation Assays: Key Tools for Accessing New Biological Information with High-throughput Microscopy
Methods in Enzymology. 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17110209
Redistribution technology is a cell-based assay technology that uses protein translocation as the primary readout for the activity of cellular signaling pathways and other intracellular events. Protein targets are labeled with the green fluorescent protein, and stably transfected cell lines are generated. The assays are read using a high-throughput, optical microscope-based instrument, several of which have become available commercially. Protein translocation assays can be formatted as agonist assays, in which compounds are tested for their ability to promote protein translocation, or as antagonist assays, in which compounds are tested for their ability to inhibit protein translocation caused by a known agonist. Protein translocation assays are high-content, high-throughput assays primarily used for profiling of lead series, primary screening of compound libraries, and as readouts for gene-silencing studies using siRNAs. This chapter describes two novel high-content Redistribution assay technologies: (1) The p53:hdm2 GRIP interaction assay, in which one high-content image feature is used for detection of primary hits, whereas a different feature is used to deselect compounds with unwanted mode of action, and (2) application of siRNAs to Redistribution assays, exemplified by knockdown of Akt isoforms in a FKHR translocation assay reporting on the PI3 kinase signaling pathway.
A Simple Cell-based HTS Assay System to Screen for Inhibitors of P53-Hdm2 Protein-protein Interactions
Assay and Drug Development Technologies. Dec, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17199506
Green fluorescent protein-assisted readout for interacting proteins (GRIP) is a universal protein interaction discovery system that can be used to generate truly high throughput screening-compatible cellular assays to be used to screen for inhibitors of protein-protein interactions. The technology uses a "bait and prey" principle based on the distinct translocation behavior of the human cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase 4A4. Here we use the p53-Hdm2 Redistribution assay (Fisher BioImage ApS, Søborg, Denmark) as an example to describe the GRIP technology. The p53-Hdm2 Redistribution assay is a high content imaging assay based on the GRIP technology that is designed to measure the interaction between Hdm2 and the tumor suppressor p53. Hdm2 regulates p53 and inhibits its function by modulating its transcriptional activity and stability. Activation of p53 in tumor cells through inhibition of its physical interaction with Hdm2 is therefore a focus of cancer drug discovery. We have performed a pilot screen by screening 3,165 compounds from a diverse small-molecule library for inhibitors of the p53-Hdm2 interaction by using the p53-Hdm2 Redistribution assay. Here we show that by taking advantage of the translocation behavior of nonbound p53, it is possible to identify true inhibitors of the p53-Hdm2 interaction by extracting high content information from the acquired images.
The Angiotensin Type 1 Receptor Activates Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinases 1 and 2 by G Protein-dependent and -independent Pathways in Cardiac Myocytes and Langendorff-perfused Hearts
Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. May, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17448113
The angiotensin II (AngII) type 1 receptor (AT(1)R) has been shown to activate extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) through G proteins or G protein-independently through beta-arrestin2 in cellular expression systems. As activation mechanisms may greatly influence the biological effects of ERK1/2 activity, differential activation of the AT(1)R in its native cellular context could have important biological and pharmacological implications. To examine if AT(1)R activates ERK1/2 by G protein-independent mechanisms in the heart, we used the [Sar(1), Ile(4), Ile(8)]-AngII ([SII] AngII) analogue in native preparations of cardiac myocytes and beating hearts. We found that [SII] AngII does not activate G(q)-coupling, yet stimulates the beta-arrestin2-dependent ERK1/2. The G(q)-activated pool of ERK1/2 rapidly translocates to the nucleus, while the beta-arrestin2-scaffolded pool remains in the cytosol. Similar biased agonism was achieved in Langendorff-perfused hearts, where both agonists elicit ERK1/2 phosphorylation, but [SII] AngII induces neither inotropic nor chronotropic effects.
Differential Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinases 1 and 2 Activation by the Angiotensin Type 1 Receptor Supports Distinct Phenotypes of Cardiac Myocytes
Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. May, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17448114
The angiotensin II (AngII) type 1 receptor (AT(1)R) is a seven-transmembrane receptor well established to activate extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) by discrete G protein-dependent and beta-arrestin2-dependent pathways. The biological importance of this, however, remains obscure. Application of the modified analogue [Sar(1), Ile(4), Ile(8)]-AngII ([SII] AngII) allowed us to dissect the two pathways of ERK1/2 activation in native cardiac myocytes. Although cytosol-retained, the beta-arrestin2-bound pool of ERK1/2 represents an active signalling component that phosphorylates p90 Ribosomal S6 Kinase, a ubiquitous and versatile mediator of ERK1/2 signal transduction. Moreover, the beta-arrestin2-dependent ERK1/2 signal supports intact proliferation of cardiac myocytes. In contrast to G(q)-activated ERK1/2, and in keeping with its failure to translocate to the nucleus, the beta-arrestin2-scaffolded pool of ERK1/2 does not phosphorylate the transcription factor Elk-1, induces no increased transcription of the immediate-early gene c-Fos, and does not entail myocyte hypertrophy. These results clearly demonstrate the biological significance of differential signalling by the AT(1)R. The opportunity to separate desirable cardiac myocyte division from detrimental hypertrophy holds promise that novel pharmacological approaches will allow targeting of pathway-specific actions.
A Complex Multilevel Attack on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa AlgT/U Expression and AlgT/U Activity Results in the Loss of Alginate Production
Gene. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22088575
Infection by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality seen in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This is mainly due to the genotypic and phenotypic changes of the bacteria that cause conversion from a typical nonmucoid to a mucoid form in the CF lung. Mucoid conversion is indicative of overproduction of a capsule-like polysaccharide called alginate. The alginate-overproducing (Alg(+)) mucoid phenotype seen in the CF isolates is extremely unstable. Low oxygen tension growth of mucoid variants readily selects for nonmucoid variants. The switching off mechanism has been mapped to the algT/U locus, and the molecular basis for this conversion was partially attributed to mutations in the algT/U gene itself. To further characterize molecular changes resulting in the unstable phenotype, an isogenic PAO1 derivative that is constitutively Alg(+) due to the replacement of the mucA with mucA22 (PDO300) was used. The mucA22 allele is common in mucoid CF isolates. Thirty-four spontaneous nonmucoid variants, or sap (suppressor of alginate production) mutants, of PDO300 were isolated under low oxygen tension. About 40% of the sap mutants were rescued by a plasmid carrying algT/U (Group A). The remaining sap mutants were not (Group B). The members of Group B fall into two subsets: one similar to PAO1, and another comparable to PDO300. Sequence analysis of the algT/U and mucA genes in Group A shows that mucA22 is intact, whereas algT/U contains mutations. Genetic complementation and sequencing of one Group B sap mutant, sap22, revealed that the nonmucoid phenotype was due to the presence of a mutation in PA3257. PA3257 encodes a putative periplasmic protease. Mutation of PA3257 resulted in decreased algT/U expression. Thus, inhibition of algT/U is a primary mechanism for alginate synthesis suppression.