A novel genetic scheme allowed us to isolate extragenic suppressor mutations that restored mutant OmpF assembly. One group of these mutations, termed asmB for assembly suppressor mutation B, permitted mutant OmpF assembly in a non-allele-specific manner. Genetic mapping analyses placed the asmB mutations at the 2-min region of the Escherichia coli K-12 chromosome. Further analyses revealed that the asmB mutations map within the envA (lpxC) gene, which encodes an enzyme needed for the synthesis of the lipid A moiety of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Nucleotide sequence analysis showed that the asmB mutations caused a change from F-50 to S (F50S substitution) (asmB2 and asmB3) or a G210S substitution (asmB1) in EnvA. Cells bearing the asmB alleles displayed increased sensitivity to various hydrophobic compounds and detergents, suggesting an alteration within the outer membrane. Direct examination of the LPS showed that its amounts were reduced by the asmB mutations, with asmB1 exerting a greater effect than asmB2 or asmB3. Thus, it appears that the asmB mutations achieve mutant OmpF assembly suppression by reducing LPS levels, which in turn may alter membrane fluidity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology