Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37993432
Link to HAL – hal-04301455
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-023-43411-y
Nat Commun 2023 Nov; 14(1): 7642
E. coli and most other diderm bacteria (those with two membranes) have an inner membrane enriched in glycerophospholipids (GPLs) and an asymmetric outer membrane (OM) containing GPLs in its inner leaflet and primarily lipopolysaccharides in its outer leaflet. In E. coli, this lipid asymmetry is maintained by the Mla system which consists of six proteins: the OM lipoprotein MlaA extracts GPLs from the outer leaflet, and the periplasmic chaperone MlaC transfers them across the periplasm to the inner membrane complex MlaBDEF. However, GPL trafficking still remains poorly understood, and has only been studied in a handful of model species. Here, we investigate GPL trafficking in Veillonella parvula, a diderm Firmicute with an Mla system that lacks MlaA and MlaC, but contains an elongated MlaD. V. parvula mla mutants display phenotypes characteristic of disrupted lipid asymmetry which can be suppressed by mutations in tamB, supporting that these two systems have opposite GPL trafficking functions across diverse bacterial lineages. Structural modelling and subcellular localisation assays suggest that V. parvula MlaD forms a transenvelope bridge, comprising a typical inner membrane-localised MCE domain and, in addition, an outer membrane ß-barrel. Phylogenomic analyses indicate that this elongated MlaD type is widely distributed across diderm bacteria and likely forms part of the ancestral functional core of the Mla system, which would be composed of MlaEFD only.