On the essentiality of lipopolysaccharide to Gram-negative bacteria

Ge Zhang, Timothy C. Meredith, Daniel Kahne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

235 Scopus citations


Lipopolysaccharide is a highly acylated saccharolipid located on the outer leaflet of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Lipopolysaccharide is critical to maintaining the barrier function preventing the passive diffusion of hydrophobic solutes such as antibiotics and detergents into the cell. Lipopolysaccharide has been considered an essential component for outer membrane biogenesis and cell viability based on pioneering studies in the model Gram-negative organisms Escherichia coli and Salmonella. With the isolation of lipopolysaccharide-null mutants in Neisseria meningitidis, Moraxella catarrhalis, and most recently in Acinetobacter baumannii, it has become increasingly apparent that lipopolysaccharide is not an essential outer membrane building block in all organisms. We suggest the accumulation of toxic intermediates, misassembly of essential outer membrane porins, and outer membrane stress response pathways that are activated by mislocalized lipopolysaccharide may collectively contribute to the observed strain-dependent essentiality of lipopolysaccharide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'On the essentiality of lipopolysaccharide to Gram-negative bacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this