Sinorhizobium meliloti phospholipase C required for lipid remodeling during phosphorus limitation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Rhizobia are Gram-negative soil bacteria able to establish nitrogen-fixing root nodules with their respective legume host plants. Besides phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin, and phosphatidylethanolamine, rhizobial membranes contain phosphatidylcholine (PC) as a major membrane lipid. Under phosphate-limiting conditions of growth, some bacteria replace their membrane phospholipids with lipids lacking phosphorus. In Sinorhizobium meliloti, these phosphorus-free lipids are sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol, ornithine-containing lipid, and diacylglyceryl trimethylhomoserine (DGTS). Pulse-chase experiments suggest that the zwitterionic phospholipids phosphatidylethanolamine and PC act as biosynthetic precursors of DGTS under phosphorus-limiting conditions. A S. meliloti mutant, deficient in the predicted phosphatase SMc00171 was unable to degrade PC or to form DGTS in a similar way as the wild type. Cell-free extracts of Escherichia coli, in which SMc00171 had been expressed, convert PC to phosphocholine and diacylglycerol, showing that SMc00171 functions as a phospholipase C. Diacylglycerol , in turn, is the lipid anchor from which biosynthesis is initiated during the formation of the phosphorus-free membrane lipid DGTS. Inorganic phosphate can be liberated from phosphocholine. These data suggest that, in S. meliloti under phosphate-limiting conditions, membrane phospholipids provide a pool for metabolizable inorganic phosphate, which can be used for the synthesis of other essential phosphorus-containing biomolecules. This is an example of an intracellular phospholipase C in a bacterial system; however, the ability to degrade endogenous preexisting membrane phospholipids as a source of phosphorus may be a general property of Gram-negative soil bacteria.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zavaleta-Pastor, M; Sohlenkamp, C; Gao, J-L; Guan, Z; Zaheer, R; Finan, TM; Raetz, CRH; López-Lara, IM; Geiger, O

Published Date

  • January 5, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 107 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 302 - 307

PubMed ID

  • 20018679

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2806695

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.0912930107


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States