Streptococcus pneumoniae, S. pyogenes and S. agalactiae membrane phospholipid remodelling in response to human serum.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Streptococcus pneumoniae, S. pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus; GAS) and S. agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus; GBS) are major aetiological agents of diseases in humans. The cellular membrane, a crucial site in host-pathogen interactions, is poorly characterized in streptococci. Moreover, little is known about whether or how environmental conditions influence their lipid compositions. Using normal phase liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization MS, we characterized the phospholipids and glycolipids of S. pneumoniae, GAS and GBS in routine undefined laboratory medium, streptococcal defined medium and, in order to mimic the host environment, defined medium supplemented with human serum. In human serum-supplemented medium, all three streptococcal species synthesize phosphatidylcholine (PC), a zwitterionic phospholipid commonly found in eukaryotes but relatively rare in bacteria. We previously reported that S. pneumoniae utilizes the glycerophosphocholine (GPC) biosynthetic pathway to synthesize PC. Through substrate tracing experiments, we confirm that GAS and GBS scavenge lysoPC, a major metabolite in human serum, thereby using an abbreviated GPC pathway for PC biosynthesis. Furthermore, we found that plasmanyl-PC is uniquely present in the GBS membrane during growth with human serum, suggesting GBS possesses unusual membrane biochemical or biophysical properties. In summary, we report cellular lipid remodelling by the major pathogenic streptococci in response to metabolites present in human serum.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Joyce, LR; Guan, Z; Palmer, KL

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 167 / 5

PubMed ID

  • 33983874

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8290102

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1465-2080

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1350-0872

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1099/mic.0.001048


  • eng