Alterocin, an Antibiofilm Protein Secreted by Pseudoalteromonas sp. Strain 3J6

Jouault, Albane, et al. “Alterocin, an Antibiofilm Protein Secreted by Pseudoalteromonas Sp. Strain 3J6.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 86, no. 20, 2020, doi:10.1128/aem.00893-20.


We sought to identify and study the antibiofilm protein secreted by the marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain 3J6. The latter is active against marine and terrestrial bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical strains forming different biofilm types. Several amino acid sequences were obtained from the partially purified antibiofilm protein, named alterocin. The Pseudoalteromonas sp. 3J6 genome was sequenced, and a candidate alt gene was identified by comparing the genome-encoded proteins to the sequences from purified alterocin. Expressing the alt gene in another nonactive Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain, 3J3, demonstrated that it is responsible for the antibiofilm activity. Alterocin is a 139-residue protein that includes a predicted 20-residue signal sequence, which would be cleaved off upon export by the general secretion system. No sequence homology was found between alterocin and proteins of known functions. The alt gene is not part of an operon and adjacent genes do not seem related to alterocin production, immunity, or regulation, suggesting that these functions are not fulfilled by devoted proteins. During growth in liquid medium, the alt mRNA level peaked during the stationary phase. A single promoter was experimentally identified, and several inverted repeats could be binding sites for regulators. alt genes were found in about 30% of the Pseudoalteromonas genomes and in only a few instances of other marine bacteria of the Hahella and Paraglaciecola genera. Comparative genomics yielded the hypothesis that alt gene losses occurred within the Pseudoalteromonas genus. Overall, alterocin is a novel kind of antibiofilm protein of ecological and biotechnological interest.