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J Bacteriol. Feb 1972; 109(2): 668–677.
PMCID: PMC285191

Effect of Glycerol Deprivation on the Phospholipid Metabolism of a Glycerol Auxotroph of Staphylococcus aureus


A study of the effects of glycerol deprivation on the content and metabolism of the phospholipids of a glycerol auxotroph of Staphylococcus aureus showed that (i) there was an increase in the proportions of lysylphosphatidylglycerol (LPB) and a concomitant decrease in the proportion of phosphatidylglycerol. The total phospholipid content per sample and the proportion of cardiolipin did not change, but the phosphatidic acid increased transiently and then fell to pretreatment levels. (ii) The loss of 32P from the lipids during the chase in a pulse-chase experiment was essentially the same in phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin, and phosphatidic acid during glycerol deprivation or growth in the presence of glycerol. LPG lost half the radioactivity in slightly more than two doubling times when grown with glycerol. In the absence of glycerol, 32P accumulated in LPG for about 20 min and then stopped, after which time there was no apparent turnover. (iii) During glycerol deprivation, the initial 32P incorporation decreased sixfold compared to that of the control with glycerol. The initial incorporation into LPG decreased only 2.5-fold, whereas that of PG decreased 45-fold. (iv) During glycerol deprivation, the free fatty acid content increased from 1.2 to 12.5% of the total extractable fatty acids and then slowly decreased. The increase was largely iso- and anti-iso-branched 21-carbon-atom fatty acids. In glycerol-supplemented cultures, the major fatty acids were branched 14- to 18-carbon fatty acids. The decrease in longer chain free fatty acids after 60 min represented their esterification into lipids. (v) During glycerol deprivation ribonucleic acid synthesis and cell growth continued for 40 min and protein synthesis continued for 90 min. Then synthesis and growth stopped. (vi) After the addition of glycerol to glycerol-deprived cells, 32P and 14C-glycerol were incorporated into the phospholipids without lag; ribonucleic acid, protein synthesis, and cell growth began after a 5- to 10-min lag at the pretreatment rate. The initial rate of lipid synthesis after the addition of glycerol was three times greater than the growth rate. This rapid rate continued for about 25 min until the lipid content and proportions of LPG and phosphatidylglycerol were restored.

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Selected References

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