Bordetella parapertussis PagP mediates the addition of two palmitates to the lipopolysaccharide lipid A

L. E. Hittle, J. W. Jones, A. M. Hajjar, R. K. Ernst, A. Preston

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Bordetella bronchiseptica PagP (PagPBB) is a lipid A palmitoyl transferase that is required for resistance to antibody-dependent complement-mediated killing in a murine model of infection. B. parapertussis contains a putative pagP homolog (encoding B. parapertussis PagP [PagPBPa]), but its role in the biosynthesis of lipid A, the membrane anchor of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), has not been investigated. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that wild-type B. parapertussis lipid A consists of a heterogeneous mixture of lipid A structures, with penta- and hexa-acylated structures containing one and two palmitates, respectively. Through mutational analysis, we demonstrate that PagPBPa is required for the modification of lipid A with palmitate. While PagPBB transfers a single palmitate to the lipid A C-3' position, PagPBPa transfers palmitates to the lipid A C-2 and C-3' positions. The addition of two palmitate acyl chains is unique to B. parapertussis. Mutation of pagPBPa resulted in a mutant strain with increased sensitivity to antimicrobial peptide killing and decreased endotoxicity, as evidenced by reduced proinflammatory responses via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) to the hypoacylated LPS. Therefore, PagP-mediated modification of lipid A regulates outer membrane function and may be a means to modify interactions between the bacterium and its human host during infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-580
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number3
Early online date24 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


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