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J Biol Chem. 1984 Mar 10;259(5):2982-90.

Sulfonolipids of gliding bacteria. Structure of the N-acylaminosulfonates.


Earlier (Godchaux, W., and Leadbetter, E. R. (1980) J. Bacteriol. 144, 592-602; (1983) J. Bacteriol. 153, 1238-1246) we demonstrated that an unusual class of sulfonolipids are major components of the cell envelope of gliding bacteria of the genus Cytophaga and of closely related genera. One of these lipids, to which we have assigned the trivial name capnine, was purified and was shown to be 2-amino-3-hydroxy-15-methylhexadecane-1-sulfonic acid (which might also be named as 1-deoxy-15-methylhexadecasphinganine-1-sulfonic acid). Though capnine accumulates as such in the cells of some Capnocytophaga spp., most organisms of the Cytophaga-like genera contain, instead, sulfonolipids that are less polar than capnine. These less polar lipids have been purified from a Capnocytophaga sp., a marine Cytophaga sp., Cytophaga johnsonae, and a Flexibacter sp. Acid methanolysis of the lipids yielded both aminosulfonates and a collection of fatty acid methyl esters. The infrared absorption spectra of the lipids indicated that the fatty acids were in amide (and not ester) linkage to the aminosulfonates. In every instance, analysis by mass spectrometry and other methods revealed that most, if not all, of the aminosulfonates obtained by methanolysis were structurally identical to capnine (though small amounts of variants of that compound may be present in some cases). The less polar sulfonolipids are, therefore, predominantly N-fatty acyl capnines, 1-deoxy-1-sulfonic acid analogs of ceramides. The fatty acid methyl esters obtained from the lipids were heterogeneous, but in all cases were rich in hydroxylated fatty acyl groups, which constituted 66 to 95% of the total.

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