Fortifying the barrier: the impact of lipid A remodelling on bacterial pathogenesis

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Jul;11(7):467-81. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3047. Epub 2013 Jun 10.


Gram-negative bacteria decorate their outermost surface structure, lipopolysaccharide, with elaborate chemical moieties, which effectively disguises them from immune surveillance and protects them from the onslaught of host defences. Many of these changes occur on the lipid A moiety of lipopolysaccharide, a component that is crucial for host recognition of Gram-negative infection. In this Review, we describe the regulatory mechanisms controlling lipid A modification and discuss the impact of modifications on pathogenesis, bacterial physiology and bacterial interactions with the host immune system.

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.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Lipid A / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipid A