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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Nov;70(11):6678-85.

Novel sulfonolipid in the extremely halophilic bacterium Salinibacter ruber.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biochimica Medica e Biologia Medica, Università degli Studi di Bari, IPCF-CR, Bari, Italy.


Salinibacter ruber is an extremely halophilic bacterium, phylogenetically affiliated with the Flavobacterium/Cytophaga branch of the domain Bacteria. Electrospray mass analyses (negative ion) of the total lipid extract of a pure culture of S. ruber shows a characteristic peak at m/z 660 as the most prominent peak in the high-mass range of the spectrum. A novel sulfonolipid, giving rise to the molecular ion [M-H]- of m/z 660, has been identified. The sulfonolipid isolated and purified by thin-layer chromatography was shown by chemical degradation, mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis to have the structure 2-carboxy-2-amino-3-O-(13'-methyltetradecanoyl)-4-hydroxy-18-methylnonadec-5-ene-1-sulfonic acid. This lipid represents about 10% of total cellular lipids, and it appears to be a structural variant of the sulfonolipids found as main components of the cell envelope of gliding bacteria of the genus Cytophaga and closely related genera (W. Godchaux and E. R. Leadbetter, J. Bacteriol. 153:1238-1246, 1983) and of diatoms (R. Anderson, M. Kates, and B. E. Volcani, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 528:89-106, 1978). Since this sulfonolipid has never been observed in any other extreme halophilic microorganism, we consider the peak at m/z 660 the lipid signature of Salinibacter. This study suggests that this novel sulfonolipid may be used as a chemotaxonomic marker for the detection of Salinibacter within the halophilic microbial community in saltern crystallizer ponds and other hypersaline environments.

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