Fine structure analysis of lipopolysaccharides in bacteriophage-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 mutants

Microbiology (Reading). 2017 Jun;163(6):848-855. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000476.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa lipopolysaccharides (LPS) serve as primary receptors for many bacteriophages and, consequently, their biosynthesis is frequently affected in phage-resistant mutants. We previously isolated phage-resistant PAO1 mutants using three different phages, and showed that they were affected in the synthesis of LPS. Here we have investigated in detail the effect of mutations in seven genes involved in different steps of the production of core and oligosaccharide chains. The band profile of purified LPS was analysed by PAGE, and we further characterized the O-chains and core structures by MALDI mass spectrometry (MS). Mild LPS extraction conditions and native LPS MS analyses helped unveil lipid A molecular species with three phosphate residues in the close vicinity of the already highly charged inner-core region. No other MS direct analysis has allowed this peculiarity to be demonstrated for native lipid A high-molecular-weight molecular species, in normal growth conditions and without involving separation techniques. The present results shed light on the possible interactions between the phages and the LPS structures in the early phase of infection.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / genetics
  • Bacteriophages / physiology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mutation
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / chemistry
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / virology
  • Receptors, Virus / chemistry
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Receptors, Virus