Bacterial Membrane Lipids: Where Do We Stand?

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2003;57:203-24. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.57.030502.090851.


Phospholipids play multiple roles in bacterial cells. These are the establishment of the permeability barrier, provision of the environment for many enzyme and transporter proteins, and they influence membrane-related processes such as protein export and DNA replication. The lipid synthetic pathway also provides precursors for protein modification and for the synthesis of other molecules. This review concentrates on the phospholipid synthetic pathway and discusses recent data on the synthesis and function of phospholipids mainly in the bacterium Escherichia coli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Membrane Lipids / biosynthesis*
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis*


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Phospholipids