Lipopeptides from the banyan endophyte, Bacillus subtilis K1: mass spectrometric characterization of a library of fengycins

J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2012 Oct;23(10):1716-28. doi: 10.1007/s13361-012-0437-4. Epub 2012 Jul 31.


Mass spectrometric analysis of a banyan endophyte, Bacillus subtilis K1, extract showing broad spectrum antifungal activity revealed a complex mixture of lipopeptides, iturins, surfactins, and fengycins. Fractionation by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) facilitated a detailed analysis of fengycin microheterogeneity. Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) and electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometric studies permitted the identification of several new fengycin variants. Four major sites of heterogeneity are identified: (1) N-terminus β-hydroxy fatty acid moiety, where chain length variation and the presence of unsaturation occur, (2) position 6 (Ala/Val/Ile/Leu), (3) position 10 (Val/Ile) within the macrocyclic ring, and (4) Gln to Glu replacement at position 8, resulting in fengycin variants that differ in mass by 1 Da. Diagnostic fragment ions provide a quick method for localizing the sites of variation in the macrocycle or the linear segment. Subsequent establishment of the sequences is achieved by MS/MS analysis of linear fengycin species produced by hydrolysis of the macrocyclic lactone. Unsaturation in the fatty acid chain and the presence of linear precursors in the B. subtilis K1 extract are also established by mass spectrometry. The anomalous distribution of intensities within isotopic multiplets is a diagnostic for Gln/Glu replacements. High resolution mass spectrometry facilitates the identification of fengycin species differing by 1 Da by localizing the variable position (Gln(8)/Glu(8)) in the fengycin variants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Lipopeptides / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Peptides, Cyclic / chemistry*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipopeptides
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • fengycin