Ornithine lipid is required for optimal steady-state amounts of c-type cytochromes in Rhodobacter capsulatus. Academic Article uri icon


  • The c-type cytochromes are haemoproteins that are subunits or physiological partners of electron transport chain components, like the cytochrome bc(1) complex or the cbb(3)-type cytochrome c oxidase. Their haem moieties are covalently attached to the corresponding apocytochromes via a complex post-translational maturation process. During our studies of cytochrome biogenesis, we uncovered a novel class of mutants that are unable to produce ornithine lipid and that lack several c-type cytochromes. Molecular analyses of these mutants led us to the ornithine lipid biosynthesis genes of Rhodobacter capsulatus. Herein, we have characterized these mutants, and established the chemical structure of this non-phosphorus membrane lipid from R. capsulatus. Ornithine lipids are known to induce potent host immune responses, including B-lymphocyte mitogenicity, adjuvanticity and macrophage activation. Yet, despite their widespread occurrence in Eubacteria, and the diverse biological effects they elicit in mammals, their physiological role in bacterial cells remained hitherto poorly defined. Our findings now indicate that under certain bacterial growth conditions ornithine lipids are crucial for optimal steady-state amounts of some extracytoplasmic proteins, including several c-type cytochromes, and attribute them a novel and important biological function.

published proceedings

  • Mol Microbiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Aygun-Sunar, S., Mandaci, S., Koch, H., Murray, I., Goldfine, H., & Daldal, F.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Aygun-Sunar, Semra||Mandaci, Sevnur||Koch, Hans-George||Murray, Ian VJ||Goldfine, Howard||Daldal, Fevzi

publication date

  • July 2006