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Mol Microbiol. 2018 Aug;109(4):541-554. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14059. Epub 2018 Aug 27.

A cluster of residues in the lipopolysaccharide exporter that selects substrate variants for transport to the outer membrane.

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Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA.
Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.


Most Gram-negative bacteria assemble lipopolysaccharides (LPS) on their surface to form a permeability barrier against many antimicrobials. LPS is synthesized at the inner membrane and then transported to the outer leaflet of the outer membrane. Although the overall LPS structure is conserved, LPS molecules can differ in composition at the species and strain level. Some bacteria also regulate when to modify phosphates on LPS at the inner membrane in order to become resistant to cationic antimicrobial peptides. The multi-protein Lpt trans-envelope machine, which transports LPS from the inner to the outer membrane, must therefore handle a variety of substrates. The most poorly understood step in LPS transport is how the ATP-binding cassette LptB2 FG transporter extracts LPS from the inner membrane. Here, we define residue K34 in LptG as a site within the structural cavity of the Escherichia coli LptB2 FG transporter that interacts electrostatically with phosphates on unmodified LPS. Alterations to this residue cause transport defects that are suppressed by the activation of the BasSR two-component signaling system, which results in modifications to the LPS phosphates. We also show this residue is part of a larger site in LptG that differentially contributes to the transport of unmodified and modified LPS.

[Available on 2019-08-27]

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