Acetic acid bacteria (AAB) are well known producers of commercially used exopolysaccharides, such as cellulose and levan. Kozakia (K.) baliensis is a relatively new member of AAB, which produces ultra-high molecular weight levan from sucrose. Throughout cultivation of two K. baliensis strains (DSM 14400, NBRC 16680) on sucrose-deficient media, we found that both strains still produce high amounts of mucous, water-soluble substances from mannitol and glycerol as (main) carbon sources. This indicated that both Kozakia strains additionally produce new classes of so far not characterized EPS.By whole genome sequencing of both strains, circularized genomes could be established and typical EPS forming clusters were identified. As expected, complete ORFs coding for levansucrases could be detected in both Kozakia strains. In K. baliensis DSM 14400 plasmid encoded cellulose synthase genes and fragments of truncated levansucrase operons could be assigned in contrast to K. baliensis NBRC 16680. Additionally, both K. baliensis strains harbor identical gum-like clusters, which are related to the well characterized gum cluster coding for xanthan synthesis in Xanthomanas campestris and show highest similarity with gum-like heteropolysaccharide (HePS) clusters from other acetic acid bacteria such as Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus and Komagataeibacter xylinus. A mutant strain of K. baliensis NBRC 16680 lacking EPS production on sucrose-deficient media exhibited a transposon insertion in front of the gumD gene of its gum-like cluster in contrast to the wildtype strain, which indicated the essential role of gumD and of the associated gum genes for production of these new EPS. The EPS secreted by K. baliensis are composed of glucose, galactose and mannose, respectively, which is in agreement with the predicted sugar monomer composition derived from in silico genome analysis of the respective gum-like clusters.By comparative sugar monomer and genome analysis, the polymeric substances secreted by K. baliensis can be considered as unique HePS. Via genome sequencing of K. baliensis DSM 14400 + NBRC 16680 we got first insights into the biosynthesis of these novel HePS, which is related to xanthan and acetan biosynthesis. Consequently, the present study provides the basis for establishment of K. baliensis strains as novel microbial cell factories for biotechnologically relevant, unique polysaccharides.
Journal: Microbial cell factories