Engineered Escherichia coli Biofilms Produce Adhesive Nanomaterials Shaped by a Patterned 43 kDa Barnacle Cement Protein.

Affiliation

Estrella LA(1), Yates EA(2), Fears KP(1), Schultzhaus JN(3), Ryou H(4), Leary DH(5), So CR(1).
Author information:
(1)Chemistry Division, Code 6176, US Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20375-5342, United States.
(2)US Naval Academy Faculty sited in Code 6176, US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. 20375, United States.
(3)National Research Council Research Associateship Programs Fellow sited in Code 6920, US Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20375-5342, United States.
(4)Materials Science and Technology Division, Code 6351, US Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20375-5342, United States.
(5)Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering, Code 6920, US Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20375-5342, United States.

Abstract

Barnacles integrate multiple protein components into distinct amyloid-like nanofibers arranged as a bulk material network for their permanent underwater attachment. The design principle for how chemistry is displayed using adhesive nanomaterials, and fragments of proteins that are responsible for their formation, remains a challenge to assess and is yet to be established. Here, we use engineered bacterial biofilms to display a library of amyloid materials outside of the cell using full-length and subdomain sequences from a major component of the barnacle adhesive. A staggered charged pattern is found throughout the full-length sequence of a 43 kDa cement protein (AACP43), establishing a conserved sequence design evolved by barnacles to make adhesive nanomaterials. AACP43 domain deletions vary in their propensity to aggregate and form fibers, as exported extracellular materials are characterized through staining, immunoblotting, scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. Full-length AACP43 and its domains have a propensity to aggregate into nanofibers independent of all other barnacle glue components, shedding light on its function in the barnacle adhesive. Curliated Escherichia coli biofilms are a compatible system for heterologous expression and the study of foreign functional amyloid adhesive materials, used here to identify the c-terminal portion of AACP43 as critical in material formation. This approach allows us to establish a common sequence pattern between two otherwise dissimilar families of cement proteins, laying the foundation to elucidate adhesive chemistries by one of the most tenacious marine fouling organisms in the ocean.