Streptococcus pneumoniae, S. mitis, and S. oralis Produce a Phosphatidylglycerol-Dependent, ltaS-Independent Glycerophosphate-Linked Glycolipid.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is a Gram-positive bacterial cell surface polymer that participates in host-microbe interactions. It was previously reported that the major human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae and the closely related oral commensals S. mitis and S. oralis produce type IV LTAs. Herein, using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry-based lipidomic analysis, we found that in addition to type IV LTA biosynthetic precursors, S. mitis, S. oralis, and S. pneumoniae also produce glycerophosphate (Gro-P)-linked dihexosyl (DH)-diacylglycerol (DAG), which is a biosynthetic precursor of type I LTA. cdsA and pgsA mutants produce DHDAG but lack (Gro-P)-DHDAG, indicating that the Gro-P moiety is derived from phosphatidylglycerol (PG), whose biosynthesis requires these genes. S. mitis, but not S. pneumoniae or S. oralis, encodes an ortholog of the PG-dependent type I LTA synthase, ltaS By heterologous expression analyses, we confirmed that S. mitis ltaS confers poly(Gro-P) synthesis in both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and that S. mitis ltaS can rescue the growth defect of an S. aureus ltaS mutant. However, we do not detect a poly(Gro-P) polymer in S. mitis using an anti-type I LTA antibody. Moreover, Gro-P-linked DHDAG is still synthesized by an S. mitis ltaS mutant, demonstrating that S. mitis LtaS does not catalyze Gro-P transfer to DHDAG. Finally, an S. mitis ltaS mutant has increased sensitivity to human serum, demonstrating that ltaS confers a beneficial but currently undefined function in S. mitis Overall, our results demonstrate that S. mitis, S. pneumoniae, and S. oralis produce a Gro-P-linked glycolipid via a PG-dependent, ltaS-independent mechanism.IMPORTANCE The cell wall is a critical structural component of bacterial cells that confers important physiological functions. For pathogens, it is a site of host-pathogen interactions. In this work, we analyze the glycolipids synthesized by the mitis group streptococcal species, S. pneumoniae, S. oralis, and S. mitis We find that all produce the glycolipid, glycerophosphate (Gro-P)-linked dihexosyl (DH)-diacylglycerol (DAG), which is a precursor for the cell wall polymer type I lipoteichoic acid in other bacteria. We investigate whether the known enzyme for type I LTA synthesis, LtaS, plays a role in synthesizing this molecule in S. mitis Our results indicate that a novel mechanism is responsible. Our results are significant because they identify a novel feature of S. pneumoniae, S. oralis, and S. mitis glycolipid biology.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wei, Y; Joyce, LR; Wall, AM; Guan, Z; Palmer, KL

Published Date

  • February 24, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 1

PubMed ID

  • 33627509

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8544892

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2379-5042

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/mSphere.01099-20


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States