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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Oct;1842(10):1353-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Jun 28.

Clostridium difficile contains plasmalogen species of phospholipids and glycolipids.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
2
Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
3
Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address: goldfinh@upenn.edu.

Abstract

Analysis of the polar lipids of many pathogenic and non-pathogenic clostridia has revealed the presence of plasmalogens, alk-1'-enyl ether-containing phospholipids and glycolipids. An exception to this finding so far has been Clostridium difficile, an important human pathogen which is the cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and other more serious complications. We have examined the polar lipids of three strains of C. difficile by thin-layer chromatography and have found acid-labile polar lipids indicative of the presence of plasmalogens. The lipids from one of these strains were subjected to further analysis by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS), which revealed the presence of phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin, monohexosyldiradylglycerol, dihexosyldiradylglycerol, and two unusual glycolipids identified as an aminohexosyl-hexosyldiradylglycerol, and a trihexosyldiradylglycerol. High resolution tandem mass spectrometry determined that monohexosyldiradylglycerol, cardiolipin and phosphatidylglycerol contained significant amounts of plasmalogens. C. difficile thus joins the growing list of clostridia that have plasmalogens. Since plasmalogens in clostridia are formed by an anaerobic pathway distinct from those in animal cells, their formation represents a potential novel target for antibiotic action.

KEYWORDS:

Clostridium difficile; Glycolipid; Mass spectrometry; Phospholipid; Plasmalogen

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