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J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 13;276(15):11461-4. Epub 2001 Feb 22.

An Escherichia coli mutant defective in lipid export.

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  • 1Departments of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Escherichia coli phospholipids and lipopolysaccharide, made on the inner surface of the inner membrane, are rapidly transported to the outer membrane by mechanisms that are not well characterized. We now report a temperature-sensitive mutant (WD2) with an A270T substitution in a trans-membrane region of the ABC transporter MsbA. As shown by (32)P(i) and (14)C-acetate labeling, export of all major lipids to the outer membrane is inhibited by approximately 90% in WD2 after 30 min at 44 degrees C. Transport of newly synthesized proteins is not impaired. Electron microscopy shows reduplicated inner membranes in WD2 at 44 degrees C, consistent with a key role for MsbA in lipid trafficking.

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