Reevaluation, using intact cells, of the exclusion limit and role of porin OprF in Pseudomonas aeruginosa outer membrane permeability

F. Bellido, N. L. Martin, R. J. Siehnel, R. E.W. Hancock

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Earlier studies that used model membrane reconstitution methods have come to different conclusions regarding the exclusion limit of the outer membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and whether OprF is the major channel-forming protein in the outer membrane. In this study, a 6.2-kbp SalI fragment, encoding only two cytoplasmic enzymes, α-galactosidase and sucrose hydrolase, and the inner membrane raffinose permease, was cloned behind the m-toluate-inducible tol promoter of vector pNM185 to create plasmid pFB71. P. aeruginosa strains harboring pFB71, when grown with inducer, produced both enzymes encoded by the insert and had acquired the ability to grow on the disaccharide melibiose and the trisaccharide raffinose. The rate of growth was dependent on the concentration and size of the saccharide and was decreased three- to fivefold by the absence of OprF, as examined by measuring the growth on melibiose and raffinose of an isogenic OprF-deficient Ω insertion derivative, H636(pFB71). At high concentrations, di-, tri-, and tetrasaccharides could pass across the outer membrane to plasmolyze P. aeruginosa, as measured by light scattering and confirmed by electron microscopy. The initial rate kinetics of light-scattering changes were dependent on the size of the saccharide being used. Furthermore, the rates of change in light scattering due to raffinose and stachyose uptake across the outer membrane for strain H636 were fivefold or more lower than for its OprF- sufficient parent H103. These data are consistent with model membrane studies showing that OprF is the most predominant porin for compounds larger than disaccharides in P. aeruginosa and suggest that the exclusion limit for this porin and the outer membrane is greater than the size of a tetrasaccharide. In addition, these data confirmed the existence of other porins with a predominant function in monosaccharide uptake and a more minor function in the uptake of larger saccharides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5196-5203
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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