Discovery of a bifunctional acyltransferase responsible for ornithine lipid synthesis in Serratia proteamaculans.
Ornithine lipids (OLs) are phosphorus-free membrane lipids that can be formed by many bacteria but that are absent from archaea and eukaryotes. A function for OLs in stress conditions and in host-bacteria interactions has been shown in some bacteria. Some bacterial species have been described that can form OLs, but lack the known genes (olsBA) involved in its biosynthesis, which implied the existence of a second pathway. Here we describe the bifunctional protein OlsF from Serratia proteamaculans involved in OL formation. Expression of OlsF and its homologue from Flavobacterium johnsoniae in Escherichia coli causes OL formation. Deletion of OlsF in S. proteamaculans caused the absence of OL formation. Homologues of OlsF are widely distributed among γ-, δ- and ε-Proteobacteria and in the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroidetes group of bacteria, including several well-studied pathogens for which the presence of OLs has not been suspected, such as for example Vibrio cholerae and Klebsiella pneumonia. Using genomic data, we predict that about 50% of bacterial species can form OLs.
Vences-Guzmán, MÁ; Guan, Z; Escobedo-Hinojosa, WI; Bermúdez-Barrientos, JR; Geiger, O; Sohlenkamp, C
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