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PLoS One. 2017 Apr 19;12(4):e0175886. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175886. eCollection 2017.

Comprehensive analysis of phospholipids and glycolipids in the opportunistic pathogen Enterococcus faecalis.

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Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.
School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore.
Singapore Lipidomics Incubator, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


Enterococcus faecalis is a Gram-positive, opportunistic, pathogenic bacterium that causes a significant number of antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitalized patients. The development of antibiotic resistance in hospital-associated pathogens is a formidable public health threat. In E. faecalis and other Gram-positive pathogens, correlations exist between lipid composition and antibiotic resistance. Resistance to the last-resort antibiotic daptomycin is accompanied by a decrease in phosphatidylglycerol (PG) levels, whereas multiple peptide resistance factor (MprF) converts anionic PG into cationic lysyl-PG via a trans-esterification reaction, providing resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides. Unlike previous studies that relied on thin layer chromatography and spectrophotometry, we have performed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) directly on lipids extracted from E. faecalis, and quantified the phospholipids through multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). In the daptomycin-sensitive E. faecalis strain OG1RF, we have identified 17 PGs, 8 lysyl-PGs (LPGs), 23 cardiolipins (CL), 3 glycerophospho-diglucosyl-diacylglycerols (GPDGDAG), 5 diglucosyl-diacylglycerols (DGDAG), 3 diacylglycerols (DAGs), and 4 triacylglycerols (TAGs). We have quantified PG and shown that PG levels vary during growth of E. faecalis in vitro. We also show that two daptomycin-resistant (DapR) strains of E. faecalis have substantially lower levels of PG and LPG levels. Since LPG levels in these strains are lower, daptomycin resistance is likely due to the reduction in PG. This lipidome map is the first comprehensive analysis of membrane phospholipids and glycolipids in the important human pathogen E. faecalis, for which antimicrobial resistance and altered lipid homeostasis have been intimately linked.

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