Tn5 insertion mutants of a soil isolate, Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1, were selected for decreased ability to adhere to quartz sand in a column assay. Three adhesion-deficient mutants that differed in the location of the Tn5 insertion in the chromosome were isolated and compared with the wild-type strain. One mutant, Pf0-5, was described previously as an adhesion-defective, nonmobile, flagellumless mutant (M. F. DeFlaun, A. S. Tanzer, A. L. McAteer, B. Marshall, and S. B. Levy, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 56:112-119, 1990). Another insertion mutant, Pf0-10, was also missing flagella and the 34-kDa outer membrane protein that was absent in Pf0-5 but present in the wild-type strain. The third mutant (Pf0-15) had increased amounts of this 34-kDa outer membrane protein and more flagella than the wild-type strain. These mutants also displayed decreased ability to adhere to sterile and natural (live) soil and to a variety of plant seeds. In kinetics studies, the wild-type strain showed an initial rapid binding to seeds followed by a later slow phase of binding. The mutant strains were defective in the initial stages of attachment but did show the later slow binding. The findings indicate that the same mutations that affect binding to sand and soil also affect adhesion to plant seeds
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