Identification of glycoproteins isolated from extracellular polymeric substances of full-scale anammox granular sludge

Boleij, M., et al. Identification of glycoproteins isolated from extracellular polymeric substances of full-scale anammox granular sludge. Environmental Science & Technology. 18/10/2018.

ANaerobic AMMonium OXidation (anammox) is an established process for efficient nitrogen removal from wastewater, relying on anammox bacteria to form stable biofilms or granules. To understand the formation, structure and stability of anammox granules, it is important to determine the composition of the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). The aim of this research was to elucidate the nature of the proteins, which are the major fraction of the EPS and were suspected to be glycosylated. EPS was extracted from full-scale anammox granular sludge, dominated by “Candidatus Brocadia”, and subjected to denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. By further analysis with mass spectrometry, a high abundant glycoprotein, carrying a heterogeneous O-glycan structure, was identified. The potential glycosylation sequence motif was identical to that proposed for the surface layer protein of “Candidatus Kuenenia stuttgartiensis”. The heavily glycosylated protein forms a large fraction of the EPS and was also located by lectin staining. Therefore we hypothesize an important role of glycoproteins in the structuring of anammox granules, comparable to the importance of glycans in the extracellular matrix of multicellular organisms. Furthermore, different glycoconjugates may have distinct roles in the matrix of granular sludge, which requires more in-depth characterization of different glycoconjugates in future EPS studies.

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