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J Bacteriol. 2001 Nov;183(22):6538-42.

Deletion of lolB, encoding an outer membrane lipoprotein, is lethal for Escherichia coli and causes accumulation of lipoprotein localization intermediates in the periplasm.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Outer membrane lipoproteins of Escherichia coli are released from the inner membrane upon the formation of a complex with a periplasmic chaperone, LolA, followed by localization to the outer membrane. In vitro biochemical analyses revealed that the localization of lipoproteins to the outer membrane generally requires an outer membrane lipoprotein, LolB, and occurs via transient formation of a LolB-lipoprotein complex. On the other hand, a mutant carrying the chromosomal lolB gene under the control of the lac promoter-operator grew normally in the absence of LolB induction if the mutant did not possess the major outer membrane lipoprotein Lpp, suggesting that LolB is only important for the localization of Lpp in vivo. To examine the in vivo function of LolB, we constructed a chromosomal lolB null mutant harboring a temperature-sensitive helper plasmid carrying the lolB gene. At a nonpermissive temperature, depletion of the LolB protein due to loss of the lolB gene caused cessation of growth and a decrease in the number of viable cells irrespective of the presence or absence of Lpp. LolB-depleted cells accumulated the LolA-lipoprotein complex in the periplasm and the mature form of lipoproteins in the inner membrane. Taken together, these results indicate that LolB is the first example of an essential lipoprotein for E. coli and that its depletion inhibits the upstream reactions of lipoprotein trafficking.

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