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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Mar;1831(3):503-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2012.08.009. Epub 2012 Aug 19.

Phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis and function in bacteria.

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Centro de Ciencias Genómicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Av. Universidad s/n, Apdo. Postal 565-A, Cuernavaca, Morelos, CP62210, Mexico.


Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the major membrane-forming phospholipid in eukaryotes and is estimated to be present in about 15% of the domain Bacteria. Usually, PC can be synthesized in bacteria by either of two pathways, the phospholipid N-methylation (Pmt) pathway or the phosphatidylcholine synthase (Pcs) pathway. The three subsequent enzymatic methylations of phosphatidylethanolamine are performed by a single phospholipid N-methyltransferase in some bacteria whereas other bacteria possess multiple phospholipid N-methyltransferases each one performing one or several distinct methylation steps. Phosphatidylcholine synthase condenses choline directly with CDP-diacylglycerol to form CMP and PC. Like in eukaryotes, bacterial PC also functions as a biosynthetic intermediate during the formation of other biomolecules such as choline, diacylglycerol, or diacylglycerol-based phosphorus-free membrane lipids. Bacterial PC may serve as a specific recognition molecule but it affects the physicochemical properties of bacterial membranes as well. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Phospholipids and Phospholipid Metabolism.

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