Expression cloning of a Pseudomonas gene encoding a hydroxydecanoyl- acyl carrier protein-dependent UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase

Garry D. Dotson, Igor A. Kaltashov, Robert J. Cotter, Christian R.H. Raetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


UDP-N-acetylglucosamine-3-O-acyltransferase (UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase) catalyzes the first step of lipid A biosynthesis (M. S. Anderson and C. R. H. Raetz, J. Biol. Chem. 262:5159-5169, 1987). We here report the isolation of the lpxA gene of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from a library of Pseudomonas strain PAO1 expressed in Escherichia coli LE392 (J. Lightfoot and J. S. Lam, J. Bacteriol. 173:5624-5630, 1991). Pseudomonas lpxA encodes a 10-carbon- specific UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase, whereas the E. coli transferase is selective for a 14-carbon acyl chain. Recombinant cosmid 1137 enabled production of a 3-hydroxydecanoyl-specific UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase in E. coli. It was identified by assaying lysozyme-EDTA lysates of individual members of the library with 3-hydroxydecanoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) as the substrate. Cosmid 1137 contained a 20-kb insert of P. aeruginosa DNA. The lpxA gene region was localized to a 1.3-kb SalI-PstI fragment. Sequencing revealed that it contains one complete open reading frame (777 bp) encoding a new lpxA homolog. The predicted Pseudomonas LpxA is 258 amino acids long and contains 21 complete hexapeptide repeating units, spaced in approximately the same manner as the 24 repeats of E. coli LpxA. The P. aeruginosa UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase is 54% identical and 67% similar to the E. coli enzyme. A plasmid (pGD3) containing the 13-kb SalI-PstI fragment complemented E. coli RO138, a temperature-sensitive mutant harboring lpxA2. LpxA assays of extracts of this construct indicated that it is > 1,000-fold more selective for 3-hydroxydecanoyl-ACP than for 3-hydroxymyristoyl-ACP. Mass spectrometry of lipid A isolated from this strain by hydrolysis at pH 4.5 revealed [M- H]- 1,684.5 (versus 1,796.5 for wild-type lipid A), consistent with 3- hydroxydecanoate rather than 3-hydroxymyristate at positions 3 and 3'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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