Advances in the Structural Biology, Mechanism, and Physiology of Cyclopropane Fatty Acid Modifications of Bacterial Membranes

John E. Cronan, Tiit Luk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cyclopropane fatty acid (CFA) synthase catalyzes a remarkable reaction. The cis double bonds of unsaturated fatty acyl chains of phospholipid bilayers are converted to cyclopropane rings by transfer of a methylene moiety from S-adenosylL-methionine (SAM). The substrates of this modification are functioning membrane bilayer phospholipids. Indeed, in Escherichia coli the great bulk of phospholipid synthesis occurs during exponential growth phase, but most cyclopropyl synthesis occurs in early stationary phase. In vitro the only active methylene group acceptor substrate is phospholipid bilayers containing unsaturated fatty acyl chains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrobiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • cyclopropane fatty acids
  • methyl transfer
  • mycolic acids
  • phospholipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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