PhoPQ regulates acidic glycerophospholipid content of theSalmonellaTyphimurium outer membrane Academic Article uri icon

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  • Gram-negative bacteria have two lipid membranes separated by a periplasmic space containing peptidoglycan. The surface bilayer, or outer membrane (OM), provides a barrier to toxic molecules, including host cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs). The OM comprises an outer leaflet of lipid A, the bioactive component of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and an inner leaflet of glycerophospholipids (GPLs). The structure of lipid A is environmentally regulated in a manner that can promote bacterial infection by increasing bacterial resistance to CAMP and reducing LPS recognition by the innate immune system. The gastrointestinal pathogen, Salmonella Typhimurium, responds to acidic pH and CAMP through the PhoPQ two-component regulatory system, which stimulates lipid A remodeling, CAMP resistance, and intracellular survival within acidified phagosomes. Work here demonstrates that, in addition to regulating lipid A structure, the S. Typhimurium PhoPQ virulence regulators also regulate acidic GPL by increasing the levels of cardiolipins and palmitoylated acylphosphatidylglycerols within the OM. Triacylated palmitoyl-PG species were diminished in strains deleted for the PhoPQ-regulated OM lipid A palmitoyltransferase enzyme, PagP. Purified PagP transferred palmitate to PG consistent with PagP acylation of both lipid A and PG within the OM. Therefore, PhoPQ coordinately regulates OM acidic GPL with lipid A structure, suggesting that GPLs cooperate with lipid A to form an OM barrier critical for CAMP resistance and intracellular survival of S. Typhimurium.


  • Dalebroux, Zachary D
  • Matamouros, Susana
  • Whittington, Dale
  • Bishop, Russell
  • Miller, Samuel I

publication date

  • February 4, 2014