Modifications of membrane phospholipid composition in nisin-resistant Listeria monocytogenes scott A.

A. Verheul, N.J. Russell, R. van 't Hof, F.M. Rombouts, T. Abee

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A nisin-resistant (NISr) variant of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A was isolated by stepwise exposure to increasing concentrations of nisin in brain heart infusion (BHI) broth. The NISr strain was about 12 times more resistant to nisin than was the wild-type (WT) strain. Accordingly, higher nisin concentrations were required to dissipate both components of the proton motive force in the NISr strain than in the WT strain. Comparison of the membrane fatty acyl composition of the sensitive strain with that of its NISr derivative revealed no significant differences. From phospholipid head group composition analysis and phospholipid biosynthesis measurements during growth in the absence and presence of nisin, it could be inferred that the NISr strain produces relatively more phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and less diphosphatidylglycerol (DPG) than the parent strain does. Monolayer studies with pure lipid extracts from both strains showed that nisin interacted more efficiently with lipids derived from the WT strain than with those derived from the NISr strain, reflecting qualitative differences in nisin sensitivity. Involvement of the cell wall in acquisition of nisin resistance was excluded, since the WT and NISr strains showed a comparable sensitivity to lysozyme. Recently, it has been demonstrated that nisin penetrates more deeply into lipid monolayers of DPG than those of other lipids including PG, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, monogalactosyldiacylglycerol, and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (R.A. Demel, T. Peelen, R.J. Siezen, B. de Kruijff, and O.P. Kuipers, Eur. J.Biochem. 235:267-274, 1996). Collectively, the mechanism of nisin resistance in this L. monocytogenes NISr strain is attributed to a reduction in the DPG content of the cytoplasmic membrane.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3451-3457
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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