FabH selectivity for anteiso branched-chain fatty acid precursors in low-temperature adaptation in Listeria monocytogenes

Atul K. Singh, Yong Mei Zhang, Kun Zhu, Chitra Subramanian, Zhong Li, Radheshyam K. Jayaswal, Craig Gatto, Charles O. Rock, Brian J. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gram-positive bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, adjust membrane fluidity by shortening the fatty acid chain length and increasing the proportional production of anteiso fatty acids at lower growth temperatures. The first condensation reaction in fatty acid biosynthesis is carried out by β-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III (FabH), which determines the type of fatty acid produced in bacteria. Here, we measured the initial rates of FabH-catalyzed condensation of malonyl-acyl carrier protein and alternate branched-chain precursor acyl-CoAs utilizing affinity-purified His-tagged L. monocytogenes FabH heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli. Listeria monocytogenes FabH showed a preference for 2-methylbutyryl-CoA, the precursor of odd-numbered anteiso fatty acids, at 30 °C, which was further increased at a low temperature (10 °C), suggesting that temperature-dependent substrate selectivity of FabH underlies the increased formation of anteiso branched-chain fatty acids during low-temperature adaptation. The increased FabH preferential condensation of 2-methylbutyryl-CoA could not be attributed to a significantly higher availability of this fatty acid precursor as acyl-CoA pool levels were reduced similarly for all fatty acid precursors at low temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Cold adaptation
  • FabH
  • Iso- and anteiso-fatty acids
  • Listeria monocytogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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