An msbB Homologue Carried in Plasmid pO157 Encodes an Acyltransferase Involved in Lipid A Biosynthesis in Escherichia coli O157:H7
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Escherichia coli O157:H7 carries a chromosomal msbB1 and a plasmid-encoded msbB2 gene. We characterized msbB2 function as a homologue of msbB1 by examination of wild-type organisms and mutant strains that lacked functional msbB1, msbB2, and both msbB1 and msbB2. The msbB double-mutant strain generated pentaacyl lipid A, while the single-mutant strains synthesized hexaacyl lipid A. Complementation with overexpressed msbB2 converted pentaacyl into hexaacyl lipid A in the double-mutant strain. The transcription of both msbB genes occurred simultaneously. Lack of MsbB2 activity slightly increased the microheterogeneity of the lipid A species. These results suggest that the msbB2 gene plays a role not only in the routine generation of fully hexaacylated lipid A but also in suppressing the microheterogeneity of lipid A species, the endotoxic determinant of the organism.
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