Cell flocculation also occurred when either arabinose or glycerol were added to M9/sup media instead of glucose (data not shown). Figure 1 Cell aggregation and adhesion by E . coli C PNPase-defective strain. A. Growth curves of E. coli C-1a (pnp +; solid symbols) and E. coli C-5691 (Δpnp-751; open symbols) in different media
(M9Glu/sup, diamonds; M9Glu, triangles) (left panel). Cell clumping by the C-5691 (Δpnp) strain led to deposition of ring-like aggregates on the flask walls (indicated by the arrow; right panel). The picture was taken in the late exponential phase (OD600 = 5–6). B. Cultures of strains carrying pBAD24 derivatives grown up to OD600 = 0.6-0.8 in M9Glu/sup at 37°C with aeration were harvested by centrifugation, Palbociclib resuspended in 0.04 vol M9 and diluted 25 fold in pre-warmed M9/sup with either 0.4% glucose (solid symbols) or 1% arabinose (empty symbols). Incubation at 37°C was resumed and growth monitored spectrophotometrically. Left panel: PNPase complementation. Right panel: suppression by RNase II. The aggregative phenotype of the C-5691 (Δpnp) strain was complemented by basal expression from a multicopy plasmid of the pnp gene under araBp promoter, indicating that low PNPase expression see more is sufficient to restore planktonic growth. Conversely, arabinose addition did not completely restore a wild type
phenotype (Figure 1B, left panel), suggesting that PNPase overexpression may also cause aggregation. Ectopic expression of RNase II suppressed the aggregative phenotype of the
pnp mutant (Figure 1B, right panel), thus suggesting that such a phenotype is controlled by the RNA degrading activity of PNPase. In contrast, however, RNase R overexpression did not compensate for lack of PNPase, indicating that different ribonucleases are not fully interchangeable in this process. Inactivation of the pnp gene induces poly-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) production In addition to macroscopic cell aggregation (Figures 1 and 2A), deletion of pnp stimulated adhesion to polystyrene microtiter Farnesyltransferase plates in a standard biofilm formation assay  (Figure 2B) and resulted in red phenotype on solid medium supplemented with Congo red, a dye binding to polymeric extracellular structures such as amyloid fibers and polysaccharides (Figure 2C). Cell aggregation was also observed by phase contrast microscopy (Figure 2D). Altogether, these observations strongly suggest that inactivation of pnp triggers the expression of one or more extracellular factors implicated in cell aggregation and adhesion to solid surfaces. In order to identify such factor(s), we searched for deletion mutants in genes encoding known adhesion factors and biofilm determinants that could suppress the aggregative phenotype of the C-5691 (Δpnp) mutant strain.