Phosphatidylcholine Biosynthesis in Mitis Group Streptococci via Host Metabolite Scavenging.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The mitis group streptococci include the major human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae and the opportunistic pathogens Streptococcus mitis and Streptococcus oralis, which are human oral cavity colonizers and agents of bacteremia and infective endocarditis in immunocompromised patients. Bacterial membrane lipids play crucial roles in microbe-host interactions; for many pathogens, however, the composition of the membrane is poorly understood. In this study, we characterized the lipidomes of selected species of mitis group streptococci and investigated the mechanistic basis for biosynthesis of the phospholipid phosphatidylcholine (PC). PC is a major lipid in eukaryotic cellular membranes, but it is considered to be comparatively rare in bacterial taxa. Using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in conjunction with stable isotope tracing, we determined that mitis group streptococci synthesize PC via a rare host-metabolite-scavenging pathway, the glycerophosphocholine (GPC) pathway, which is largely uncharacterized in bacteria. Our work demonstrates that mitis group streptococci, including S. pneumoniae, remodel their membranes in response to the major human metabolites GPC and lysophosphatidylcholine.IMPORTANCE We lack fundamental information about the composition of the cellular membrane even for the best-studied pathogens of critical significance for human health. The mitis group streptococci are closely linked to humans in health and disease, but their membrane biology is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that these streptococci scavenge major human metabolites and use them to synthesize the membrane phospholipid PC. Our work is significant because it identifies a mechanism by which the major human pathogen S. pneumoniae and the primary human oral colonizers S. mitis and S. oralis remodel their membranes in response to host metabolites.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Joyce, LR; Guan, Z; Palmer, KL

Published Date

  • November 15, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 201 / 22

PubMed ID

  • 31501281

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6805115

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5530

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/JB.00495-19


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States