New insights into the biological role of the osmoregulated periplasmic glucans in pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria.
This review emphasizes the biological roles of the osmoregulated periplasmic glucans (OPGs). Osmoregulated periplasmic glucans occur in almost all α-, β- and γ-Proteobacteria. This polymer of glucose is required for full virulence. The roles of the OPGs are complex and vary depending on the species. Here, we outline the four major roles of the OPGs through four different pathogenic and one symbiotic bacterial models (Dickeya dadantii, Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Brucella abortus and Sinorhizobium meliloti). When periplasmic, the OPGs are a part of the signal transduction pathway and indirectly regulate genes involved in virulence. The OPGs can also be secreted. When outside of the cell, they interact directly with antibiotics to protect the bacterial cell or interact with the host cell to facilitate the invasion process. When OPGs are not found, as in the ε-Proteobacteria, OPG-like oligosaccharides are present. Their presence strengthens the evidence that OPGs play an important role in virulence.