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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2016 Oct;27(10):1606-13. doi: 10.1007/s13361-016-1455-4. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

Characterization of N-Succinylation of L-Lysylphosphatidylglycerol in Bacillus subtilis Using Tandem Mass Spectrometry.

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Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture/Department of Medicine, Core Mass Spectrometry Facility, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Phospholipids generally dominate in bacterial lipids. The negatively charged nature of phospholipids renders bacteria susceptible to cationic antibiotic peptides. In comparison with Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria in general have much less zwitterionic phosphatidylethanolamine. However, they are known for producing aminoacylated phosphatidylglycerol (PG), especially positively charged L-lysyl-PG, which is catalyzed by lysyl-PG synthase MprF, which appears to have a broad range of specificity for L-aminoacyl transfer RNAs. In addition, many Gram-positive bacteria also have a dlt-gene-coded D-alanylation pathway for lipoteichoic acids and wall teichoic acids covalently attached to a glycolipid or peptidoglycan. D-Alanylation also masks the dominant negative charge of the phosphate-rich polymers of teichoic acids. Using mass spectrometry, we have recently observed that precursor scans in negative mode for deprotonated amino acid fragments were most sensitive for ester-linked amino acids. Such a scan for precursors generating an m/z 145 lysyl anion revealed lysyl-PG as well as an additional species 100 m/z units greater than lysyl-PG. This unexpected species corresponded precisely to the expected mass of N-succinylated lysyl-PG. Tandem mass spectrometry revealed a precise match to the fragmentation pattern of this putative new species. PG, lysyl-PG, and N-succinyl-lysyl-PG may form a complete loop of charge reversal from -1 to +1 and then back to -1. Analogous charge reversal by N-succinylation of lysine residues in the bacterial as well as eukaryotic proteomes has been recently discovered as a major posttranslational modification. Such modification in bacterial lipids is possibly catalyzed by an enzyme homologous to the enzymes that modify lysine residues in proteins. Graphical Abstract ᅟ.


Charge modulation; Lipid; Lysine succinylation; MS2; MS3; Mass Spectrometry; Phosphatidylglycerol; Phospholipid; lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol; succinyl-lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol

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