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Mol Microbiol. 2011 Mar;79(5):1380-401. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07530.x. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

The outer membrane protein LptO is essential for the O-deacylation of LPS and the co-ordinated secretion and attachment of A-LPS and CTD proteins in Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne Dental School, and Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.


Protein substrates of a novel secretion system of Porphyromonas gingivalis contain a conserved C-terminal domain (CTD) essential for secretion and attachment to the cell surface. Inactivation of lptO (PG0027) or porT produced mutants that lacked surface protease activity and an electron-dense surface layer. Both mutants showed co-accumulation of A-LPS and unmodified CTD proteins in the periplasm. Lipid profiling by mass spectrometry showed the presence of both tetra- and penta-acylated forms of mono-phosphorylated lipid A in the wild-type and porT mutant, while only the penta-acylated forms of mono-phosphorylated lipid A were found in the lptO mutant, indicating a specific role of LptO in the O-deacylation of mono-phosphorylated lipid A. Increased levels of non-phosphorylated lipid A and the presence of novel phospholipids in the lptO mutant were also observed that may compensate for the missing mono-phosphorylated tetra-acylated lipid A in the outer membrane (OM). Molecular modelling predicted LptO to adopt a β-barrel structure characteristic of an OM protein, supported by the enrichment of LptO in OM vesicles. The results suggest that LPS deacylation by LptO is linked to the co-ordinated secretion of A-LPS and CTD proteins by a novel secretion and attachment system to form a structured surface layer.

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