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J Bacteriol. 1987 Feb;169(2):605-11.

Fatty acid metabolism in sn-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (plsB) mutants.


Fatty acid metabolism was examined in Escherichia coli plsB mutants that were conditionally defective in sn-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase activity. The fatty acids synthesized when acyl transfer to glycerol-3-phosphate was inhibited were preferentially transferred to phosphatidylglycerol. A comparison of the ratio of phospholipid species labeled with 32Pi and [3H]acetate in the presence and absence of glycerol-3-phosphate indicated that [3H]acetate incorporation into phosphatidylglycerol was due to fatty acid turnover. A significant contraction of the acetyl coenzyme A pool after glycerol-3-phosphate starvation of the plsB mutant precluded the quantitative assessment of the rate of phosphatidylglycerol fatty acid labeling. Fatty acid chain length in membrane phospholipids increased as the concentration of the glycerol-3-phosphate growth supplement decreased, and after the abrupt cessation of phospholipid biosynthesis abnormally long chain fatty acids were excreted into the growth medium. These data suggest that the acyl moieties of phosphatidylglycerol are metabolically active, and that competition between fatty acid elongation and acyl transfer is an important determinant of the acyl chain length in membrane phospholipids.

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