Synthesis and protein curing abilities of membrane glycolipids
There are many types of membrane lipids throughout Nature. Still little is known about synthesizing pathways and how different lipids affect the embedded membrane proteins. The most common lipids are glycolipids since they dominate plant green tissue. Glycolipids also exist in mammal cells as well as in most Gram-positive bacteria. Glycosyltransferases (GTs) catalyze the final enzymatic steps for these glycolipids. In the bacteria Acholeplasma laidlawii and Streptococcus pneumonie and in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, GTs for mono-/di-glycosyl-diacylglycerol (-DAG) are suggested to be regulated to keep a certain membrane curvature close to a bilayer/nonbilayer phase transition. The monoglycosylDAGs are nonbilayer-prone with small headgroups, hence by themselves they will not form bilayer structures.Here we have determined the genes encoding the main glycolipids of A. laidlawii and S. pneumonie. We have also shown that these GTs belong to a large enzyme group widely spread in Nature, and that all four enzymes are differently regulated by membrane lipids. The importance of different lipid properties were traced in a lipid mutant of Escherichia coli lacking the major (75 %), nonbilayer-prone/zwitterionic, lipid phosphatidylethanolamine. Introducing the genes for the GTs of A. laidlawii and two analogous genes from A. thaliana yielded new strains containing 50 percent of glyco-DAG lipids. The monoglyco-DAG strains contain significant amounts of nonbilayer-prone lipids while the diglyco-DAG strains contain no such lipids. Comparing these new strains for viability and the state of membrane-associated functions made it possible to connect different functions to certain lipid properties. In summary, a low surface charge density of anionic lipids is important in E.coli membranes, but this fails to be supportive if the diluting species have a too large headgroup. This indicates that a certain magnitude of the curvature stress is crucial for the membrane bilayer in vivo.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Biochemistry; membrane; lipids; glycolipids; nonbilayer-prone
Date of Publication:01/01/2006