The Omp85 protein of Neisseria menigitidis is required for lipid export to the outer membrane

Stéphanie Genevrois, Liana Steeghs, Paul Roholl, Jean-Jacques Letesson, Peter van der Ley (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In Gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide and phospholipid biosynthesis takes place at the inner membrane. How the completed lipid molecules are subsequently transported to the outer membrane remains unknown. Omp85 of Neisseria meningitidis is representative for a family of outer membrane proteins conserved among Gram-negative bacteria. We first demonstrated that the omp85 gene is cotranscribed with genes involved in lipid biosynthesis, suggesting an involvement in lipid assembly. A meningococcal strain was constructed in which Omp85 expression could be switched on or off through a tac promoter-controlled omp85 gene. We demonstrated that the presence of Omp85 is essential for viability. Depletion of Omp85 leads to accumulation of electron dense amorphous material and vesicular structures in the periplasm. We demonstrated, by fractionation of inner and outer membranes, that lipopolysaccharide and phospholipids mostly disappeared from the outer membrane and instead accumulated in the inner membrane, upon depletion of Omp85. Omp85 depletion did not affect localisation of integral outer membrane proteins PorA and Opa. These results provide compelling evidence for a role of Omp85 in lipid transport to the outer membrane.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1780-1789
Number of pages10
JournalThe EMBO journal
Issue number8
Publication statusUnpublished - 2003


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