Antigen 43 (Ag43) is a surface-displayed autotransporter protein of Escherichia coli. By virtue of its self-association characteristics, this protein is able to mediate autoaggregation and flocculation of E. coli cells in static cultures. Additionally, surface display of Ag43 is associated with a distinct frizzy colony morphology in E. coli. Here we show that Ag43 can be expressed in a functional form on the surface of the environmentally important Pseudomonas fluorescens strain SBW25 with ensuing cell aggregation and frizzy colony types. Using green fluorescence protein-tagged cells, we demonstrate that Ag43 can be used as a tool to provide interspecies cell aggregation between E. coli and P. fluorescens. Furthermore, Ag43 expression enhances biofilm formation in P. fluorescens to glass surfaces. The versatility of this protein was also reflected in Ag43 surface display in a variety of other gram-negative bacteria. Display of heterologous Ag43 in selected bacteria might offer opportunities for rational design of multispecies consortia where the concerted action of several bacterial species is required, e.g., waste treatment and degradation of pollutants
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