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Intraperiplasmic growth of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J: attachment of long-chain fatty acids to escherichia coli peptidoglycan.

  • M F Thomashow
  • S C Rittenberg
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1978
  • Biology


During the initial stages of intraperiplasmic growth of Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus on Escherichia coli, the peptidoglycan of the E. coli becomes acylated with long-chain fatty acids, primarily palmitic acid (60%) and oleic acid (20%). The attachment of the fatty acids to the peptidoglycan involves a carboxylic-ester bond, i.e., they were removed by treatment with alkaline hydroxylamine. Their linkage to the peptidoglycan does not involve a protein molecule. When the bdelloplast peptidoglycan was digested with lysozyme, the fatty acid-containing split products behaved as lipopeptidoglycan, i.e., they were extracted into the organic phase of 1-butanol:acetic acid:water (4:15) two-phase system; all of the lysozyme split products generated from normal E. coli peptidoglycan were extracted into the water phase. It is suggested that the function of the acylation reaction is to help stabilize the bdelloplast outer membrane against osmotic forces. In addition, a model is presented to explain how a bdellovibrio penetrates, stabilizes, and lyses a substrate cell.

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