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Phospholipid Furan Fatty Acids and Ubiquinone-8: Lipid Biomarkers That May Protect Dehalococcoides Strains from Free Radicals

White, David C., Geyer, Roland, Peacock, Aaron D., Hedrick, David B., Koenigsberg, Stephen S., Sung, Youlboong, He, Jianzhong, Löffler, Frank E.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2005 v.71 no.12 pp. 8426-8433
Dehalococcoides, Escherichia coli, bacteria, benzoquinones, biomarkers, dechlorination, energy, fatty acid composition, free radicals, lifestyle, mixed culture, phospholipids, triacylglycerols, ubiquinones, unsaturated fatty acids
Dehalococcoides species have a highly restricted lifestyle and are only known to derive energy from reductive dehalogenation reactions. The lipid fraction of two Dehalococcoides isolates, strains BAV1 and FL2, and a tetrachloroethene-to-ethene-dechlorinating Dehalococcoides-containing consortium were analyzed for neutral lipids and phospholipid fatty acids. Unusual phospholipid modifications, including the replacement of unsaturated fatty acids with furan fatty acids, were detected in both Dehalococcoides isolates and the mixed culture. The following three furan fatty acids are reported as present in bacterial phospholipids for the first time: 9-(5-pentyl-2-furyl)-nonanoate (Fu18:2[omega]6), 9-(5-butyl-2-furyl)-nonanoate (Fu17:2[omega]5), and 8-(5-pentyl-2-furyl)-octanoate (Fu17:2[omega]6). The neutral lipids of the Dehalococcoides cultures contained unusually large amounts of benzoquinones (i.e., ubiquinones [UQ]), which is unusual for anaerobes. In particular, the UQ-8 content of Dehalococcoides was 5- to 20-fold greater than that generated in aerobically grown Escherichia coli cultures relative to the phospholipid fatty acid content. Naphthoquinone isoprenologues (MK), which are often found in anaerobically grown bacteria and archaea, were also detected. Dehalococcoides shows a difference in isoprenologue pattern between UQ-8 and MK-5 that is atypical of other bacteria capable of producing both quinone types. The difference in UQ-8 and MK-5 isoprenologue patterns strongly suggests a special function for UQ in Dehalococcoides, and Dehalococcoides may utilize structural modifications in its lipid armamentarium to protect against free radicals that are generated in the process of reductive dechlorination.