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Covalently linked hopanoid-lipid A improves outer-membrane resistance of a Bradyrhizobium symbiont of legumes

Abstract : Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) are major components of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and are essential for their growth and survival. They act as a structural barrier and play an important role in the interaction with eukaryotic hosts. Here we demonstrate that a photosynthetic Bradyrhizobium strain, symbiont of Aeschynomene legumes, synthesizes a unique LPS bearing a hopanoid covalently attached to lipid A. Biophysical analyses of reconstituted liposomes indicate that this hopanoid-lipid A structure reinforces the stability and rigidity of the outer membrane. In addition, the bacterium produces other hopanoid molecules not linked to LPS. A hopanoid-deficient strain, lacking a squalene hopene cyclase, displays increased sensitivity to stressful conditions and reduced ability to survive intra-cellularly in the host plant. This unusual combination of hopanoid and LPS molecules may represent an adaptation to optimize bacterial survival in both free-living and symbiotic states.
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Alba Silipo, Giuseppe Vitiello, Djamel Gully, Luisa Sturiale, Clémence Chaintreuil, et al.. Covalently linked hopanoid-lipid A improves outer-membrane resistance of a Bradyrhizobium symbiont of legumes. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2014, 5, ⟨10.1038/ncomms6106⟩. ⟨hal-02632287⟩

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