Ladderane phospholipids in anammox bacteria comprise phosphocholine and phosphoethanolamine headgroups

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 May;258(2):297-304. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2006.00233.x.


Anammox bacteria present in wastewater treatment systems and marine environments are capable of anaerobically oxidizing ammonium to dinitrogen gas. This anammox metabolism takes place in the anammoxosome which membrane is composed of lipids with peculiar staircase-like 'ladderane' hydrocarbon chains that comprise three or four linearly concatenated cyclobutane structures. Here, we applied high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry to elucidate the full identity of these ladderane lipids. This revealed a wide variety of ladderane lipid species with either a phosphocholine or phosphoethanolamine polar headgroup attached to the glycerol backbone. In addition, in silico analysis of genome data gained insight into the machinery for the biosynthesis of the phosphocholine and phosphoethanolamine phospholipids in anammox bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Computational Biology
  • Ethanolamines / chemistry*
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Netherlands
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis
  • Phospholipids / chemistry*
  • Phospholipids / classification
  • Phosphorylcholine / chemistry*
  • Water Microbiology


  • Ethanolamines
  • Phospholipids
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • phosphorylethanolamine