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Phospholipid metabolism in Pseudomonas BAL-31 infected with lipid-containing bacteriophage PM2.

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  • Research Article


Infection of Pseudomonas BAL-31 with the lipid-containing bacteriophage PM2 resulted in no detectable change in the rate of phosphatidylglycerol (PG) or phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) biosynthesis. An increase in the PG content of infected cultures was not seen until the cultures began to lyse, and this increase was in fact only a relative increase resulting from the extensive turnover of PE at the onset of culture lysis. Turnover studies revealed that the glycerol, phosphorus fatty acid, and ethanolamine moieties of PE turned over simultaneously at the time of lysis, and therefore made it unlikely that there was a PE to PG conversion during the latent period of the phage. The lipid found in the bacteriophage did not reflect a preferential selection for lipid synthesized before or after infection, but in fact reflected the composition of the host membrane at the time the phage were assembled. The use of a modified medium that allowed the cultivation of Pseudomonas BAL-31 as a prototroph and resulted in reliable lysis times of infected cultures led us to the conclusion that PM2 infection effects little change in host phospholipid metabolism, and that there is sufficient PG in the host cytoplasmic membrane to account for a full burst of phage. As a result of the reliable lysis times that we have achieved, we concluded that certain metabolic events, i.e., PE turnover, are lytic phenomena and must not be confused with events relevant to the biosynthesis and maturation of the phage.

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