, Volume 190, Issue 1, pp 51-66
Date: 02 Apr 2008

Ladderane lipid distribution in four genera of anammox bacteria

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Intact ladderane phospholipids and core lipids were studied in four species of anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria, each representing one of the four known genera. Each species of anammox bacteria contained C18 and C20 ladderane fatty acids with either 3 or 5 linearly condensed cyclobutane rings and a ladderane monoether containing a C20 alkyl moiety with 3 cyclobutane rings. The presence of ladderane lipids in all four anammox species is consistent with their putative physiological role to provide a dense membrane around the anammoxosome, the postulated site of anammox catabolism. In contrast to the core lipids, large variations were observed in the distribution of ladderane phospholipids, i.e. different combinations of hydrophobic tail (ladderane, straight chain and methyl branched fatty acid) types attached to the glycerol backbone sn-1 position, in combination with different types of polar headgroup (phosphocholine, phosphoethanolamine or phosphoglycerol) attached to the sn-3 position. Intact ladderane lipids made up a high percentage of the lipid content in the cells of “Candidatus Kuenenia stuttgartiensis”, suggesting that ladderane lipids are also present in membranes other than the anammoxosome. Finally, all four investigated species contained a C27 hopanoid ketone and bacteriohopanetetrol, which, indicates that hopanoids are anaerobically synthesised by anammox bacteria.

Communicated by Erko Stackebrandt.