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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Oct;81(19):6538-47. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01537-15. Epub 2015 Jul 10.

Neutral and Phospholipids of the Myxococcus xanthus Lipodome during Fruiting Body Formation and Germination.

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Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Fachbereich Biowissenschaften, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS), Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany


Myxobacteria are well-known for their complex life cycle, including the formation of spore-filled fruiting bodies. The model organism Myxococcus xanthus exhibits a highly complex composition of neutral and phospholipids, including triacylglycerols (TAGs), diacylglycerols (DAGs), phosphatidylethanolamines (PEs), phosphatidylglycerols (PGs), cardiolipins (CLs), and sphingolipids, including ceramides (Cers) and ceramide phosphoinositols (Cer-PIs). In addition, ether lipids have been shown to be involved in development and signaling. In this work, we describe the lipid profile of M. xanthus during its entire life cycle, including spore germination. PEs, representing one of the major components of the bacterial membrane, decreased by about 85% during development from vegetative rods to round myxospores, while TAGs first accumulated up to 2-fold before they declined 48 h after the induction of sporulation. Presumably, membrane lipids are incorporated into TAG-containing lipid bodies, serving as an intermediary energy source for myxospore formation. The ceramides Cer(d-19:0/iso-17:0) and Cer(d-19:0/16:0) accumulated 6-fold and 3-fold, respectively, after 24 h of development, identifying them to be novel putative biomarkers for M. xanthus sporulation. The most abundant ether lipid, 1-iso-15:0-alkyl-2,3-di-iso-15:0-acyl glycerol (TG1), exhibited a lipid profile different from that of all TAGs during sporulation, reinforcing its signaling character. The absence of all these lipid profile changes in mutants during development supports the importance of lipids in myxobacterial development. During germination of myxospores, only the de novo biosynthesis of new cell membrane fatty acids was observed. The unexpected accumulation of TAGs also during germination might indicate a function of TAGs as intermediary storage lipids during this part of the life cycle as well.

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