Characterization of different alginate lyases for dissolving Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

Blanco-Cabra, Núria, et al. “Characterization of Different Alginate Lyases for Dissolving Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Biofilms.” Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 2020, doi:10.1038/s41598-020-66293-2.


Aggregates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa form a protective barrier against antibiotics and the immune system. These barriers, known as biofilms, are associated with several infectious diseases. One of the main components of these biofilms is alginate, a homo- and hetero-polysaccharide that consists of β-D-mannuronate (M) and α-L-guluronate (G) units. Alginate lyases degrade this sugar and have been proposed as biotherapeutic agents to dissolve P. aeruginosa biofilms. However, there are contradictory reports in the literature regarding the efficacy of alginate lyases against biofilms and their synergistic effect with antibiotics. We found that most positive reports used a commercial crude extract from Flavobacterium multivorum as the alginate lyase source. By using anion exchange chromatography coupled to nano LC MS/MS, we identified two distinct enzymes in this extract, one has both polyM and polyG (polyM/G) degradation activities and it is similar in sequence to a broad-spectrum alginate lyase from Flavobacterium sp. S20 (Alg2A). The other enzyme has only polyG activity and it is similar in sequence to AlyA1 from Zobellia galactanivorans. By characterizing both of these enzymes together with three recombinant alginate lyases (a polyM, a polyG and a polyM/G), we showed that only enzymes with polyM/G activity such as Alg2A and A1-II’ (alginate lyase from Sphingomonas sp.) are effective in dissolving biofilms. Furthermore, both activities are required to have a synergistic effect with antibiotics.