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J Biol Chem. 1988 Oct 15;263(29):14684-9.

Properties of Escherichia coli mutants lacking membrane-derived oligosaccharides.

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  • 1Institut für Mikrobiologie II, Membranphysiologie, Universität Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Membrane-derived oligosaccharides (MDO) consist of branched substituted beta-glucan chains and are present in the periplasmic space of Escherichia coli and other gram-negative bacteria. A procedure for the isolation of mutants defective in MDO synthesis is described. Their phenotype was compared with a mdoA mutant previously identified, and they are mapped in the mdoA region. Mutants lacking MDO showed imparied chemotaxis on tryptone swarm plates, a reduced number of flagella, and an enhanced expression of the OmpC porin. Revertants able to form swarm rings again had regained the ability to synthesize MDO and showed the wild-type porin pattern. A second group of chemotactic revertants were mutated in the ompB gene region involved in osmoregulation, and they were still devoid of MDO. These findings provide evidence for a link between MDO biosynthesis and other functions of E. coli related to its adaptation to the environment.

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