Cloning and Characterization of the Gene for Phosphatidylcholine Synthase
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the major membraneforming phospholipid in eukaryotes and can be synthesized by either of two pathways, the CDP-choline pathway or the methylation pathway. In prokaryotes only the methylation pathway was thought to occur. Recently, however, we could demonstrate (de Rudder, K. E. E., Sohlenkamp, C., and Geiger, O. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274, 20011-20016) that a second pathway for phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis exists in Sinorhizobium (Rhizobium) meliloti involving a
... iloti involving a novel enzymatic activity, phosphatidylcholine synthase, that condenses choline and CDP-diacylglyceride in one step to form PC and CMP. Using a colony autoradiography method we have isolated mutants of S. meliloti deficient in phosphatidylcholine synthase and which are no longer able to incorporate radiolabeled choline into PC. Complementation of such mutants with a sinorhizobial cosmid gene bank, subcloning of the complementing fragment, and sequencing of the subclone led to the identification of a gene coding for a presumptive CDP-alcohol phosphatidyltransferase. Amplification of this gene and its expression in Escherichia coli demonstrates that it codes for phosphatidylcholine synthase. Genomes of some pathogens (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Borrelia burgdorferi) contain genes similar to the sinorhizobial gene (pcs) for phosphatidylcholine synthase. Although pcsdeficient S. meliloti knock-out mutants show wild typelike growth and lipid composition, they are unable to perform rapid PC biosynthesis that normally is achieved via the phosphatidylcholine synthase pathway in S. meliloti wild type.