Lipid compositions in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis during growth as determined by MALDI-TOF and TOF/TOF mass spectrometry

by Gidden, Jennifer; Denson, Jackie; Liyanage, Rohana; Ivey, D. Mack; Lay, Jackson O.

Lipids in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis were analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry and TOF/TOF tandem mass spectrometry. Lipids were extracted from bacterial cells using an equal volume mixture of dichloromethane, ethanol, and water, which formed a biphasic system with the lipids in the organic layer. The resulting mass spectra of the extracts from both bacteria showed a series of peaks corresponding to sodiated phospholipids - primarily phosphatidylethanolamines (PEs) and phosphatidylglycerols (PGs). The relative amounts of the phospholipids and the fatty acid compositions inferred from the spectra were in good agreement with previously reported values from GC/MS and thin-layer chromatography studies. E. coli and B. subtilis were easily differentiated by dissimilarities in the composition and relative amounts of the phospholipids present as well as by the presence of lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol and diglycosyl diglycerides solely in the B. subtilis mass spectra. Changes in lipid content in the bacteria during their growth phases were also monitored. In E. coli, the spectra indicated an increase in the amount of the unique Ccy-17 fatty acid (in which the fatty acid chain contains a cyclopropane ring) formed during exponential growth. During stationary growth, the spectra indicated an increase in the amount of saturated fatty acids. In B. subtilis, the phospholipid composition remained relatively unchanged during exponential growth, but the amount of PG slightly decreased while the amount of PE slightly increased during stationary growth. No significant changes were observed for the Iysyl-phosphatidylglycerols or glycolipids during the exponential or stationary growth phases.

International Journal of Mass Spectrometry
Start Page
1873-2798; 1387-3806