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A Coxiella burnetii phospholipase A homolog pldA is required for optimal growth in macrophages and developmental form lipid remodeling.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Many gram-negative bacteria produce an outer membrane phospholipase A (PldA) that plays an important role in outer membrane function and is associated with virulence. RESULTS:In the current study, we characterized a pldA mutant of Coxiella burnetii, an intracellular gram-negative pathogen and the agent of human Q fever. The C. burnetti pldA open reading frame directs synthesis of a protein with conserved PldA active site residues. A C. burnetii ?pldA deletion mutant had a significant growth defect in THP-1 macrophages, but not axenic medium, that was rescued by complementation. Thin layer chromatography was employed to assess whether pldA plays a role in remodeling membrane lipids during C. burnetii morphological differentiation. Extracted lipids were analyzed from replicating, logarithmic phase large cell variants (LCVs), non-replicating, stationary phase small cell variants (SCVs), and a mixture of LCVs and SCVs. Similar to Escherichia coli, all three forms contained cardiolipin (CL), phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). However, PE and PG were present in lower quantities in the SCV while three additional lipid species were present in higher quantities. Co-migration with standards tentatively identified two of the three SCV-enriched lipids as lyso-phosphatidylethanolamine, a breakdown product of PE, and free fatty acids, which are generally toxic to bacteria. Developmental form lipid modifications required the activity of PldA. CONCLUSIONS:Collectively, these results indicate developmentally-regulated lipid synthesis by C. burnetii contributes to colonization of macrophages and may contribute to the environmental stability and the distinct biological properties of the SCV.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5902883 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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