A phosphoethanolamine-modified glycosyl diradylglycerol in the polar lipids of Clostridium tetani

J Lipid Res. 2010 Jul;51(7):1953-61. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M004788. Epub 2010 Feb 20.


The polar lipids of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani, the causative agent of tetanus, have been examined by two-dimensional thin layer chromatography, ESI mass spectrometry, and NMR spectroscopy. Plasmalogen and di- and tetra-acylated species of phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin, and N-acetylglucosaminyl diradylglycerol were the major lipids present in most strains examined except for strain ATCC 10779, the parent of strain E88, the first C. tetani strain to have its genome sequenced. This strain contained the same di- and tetra-acylated species but did not contain plasmalogens. All strains contained a novel derivative of N-acetylglucosaminyl diradylglycerol in which a phosphoethanolamine unit is attached to the 6'-position of the sugar, as judged by selective 31P-decoupled, 1H-detected NMR difference spectroscopy. The N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) residue is presumably linked to the 3-positon of the diradylglycerol moiety, and it has the beta-anomeric configuration. Very little plasmalogen component was detected by mass spectrometry in the precursors phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine, consistent with the idea that plasmalogens are formed from diacylated phospholipids at a late stage of phospholipid assembly in anaerobic clostridia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Clostridium tetani / chemistry*
  • Diglycerides / analysis*
  • Ethanolamines / analysis*
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Diglycerides
  • Ethanolamines
  • Lipids
  • Carbon
  • phosphorylethanolamine
  • diarachidonyl diglyceride