Flavobacterium johnsoniae cells move rapidly over surfaces by gliding motility. Gliding results from the movement of adhesins such as SprB and RemA along the cell surface. These adhesins are delivered to the cell surface by a Bacteroidetes-specific secretion system referred to as the type IX secretion system (T9SS). GldN, SprE, SprF, and SprT are involved in secretion by this system. Here we demonstrate that GldK, GldL, GldM, and SprA are each also involved in secretion. Nonpolar deletions of gldK, gldL, or gldM resulted in the absence of gliding motility and in T9SS defects. The mutant cells produced SprB and RemA proteins but failed to secrete them to the cell surface. The mutants were resistant to phages that use SprB or RemA as a receptor, and they failed to attach to glass, presumably because of the absence of cell surface adhesins. Deletion of sprA resulted in similar but slightly less dramatic phenotypes. sprA mutant cells failed to secrete SprB and RemA, but cells remained susceptible to some phages and retained some limited ability to glide. The phenotype of the sprA mutant was similar to those previously described for sprE and sprT mutants. SprA, SprE, and SprT are needed for secretion of SprB and RemA but may not be needed for secretion of other proteins targeted to the T9SS. Genetic and molecular experiments demonstrate that gldK, gldL, gldM, and gldN form an operon and suggest that the proteins encoded by these genes may interact to form part of the F. johnsoniae T9SS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology