Participation of Bacterial Lipases, Sphingomyelinases, and Phospholipases in Gram-Negative Bacterial Pathogenesis

  • Lauren A. Hinkel
  • Matthew J. WargoEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


Lipid membranes are a ubiquitous property of cellular life. Within the context of infection, Gram-negative bacteria modify and/or destroy host membranes to access intracellular niches or release nutrients. They also modify their own membranes to survive host antimicrobial assault and antibiotic treatment. The key players in the membrane-altering events are secreted sphingomyelinases, lipases, and phospholipases, whose enzymatic activities are important for pathogenesis in a number of Gram-negative bacterial species. Here, we present these lipid-active enzymes based on proposed pathogenic function to emphasize their biological roles during infection.



Research related to this topic was supported by grants from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (R01 AI103003, R03 AI117069) to MJW. LAH was supported by an institutional training grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (T32 AI055402).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Larner College of Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life SciencesUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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