Lipid A is a fundamental Gram-negative outer membrane component and the essential element of lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin), a potent immunostimulatory molecule. This work describes the metabolic adaptation of the lipid A acyl structure by Psychrobacter cryohalolentis at various temperatures in its facultative psychrophilic growth range, as characterized by MALDI-TOF MS and FAME GC-MS. It also presents the first elucidation of lipid A structure from the Colwellia genus, describing lipid A from strains of Colwellia hornerae and Colwellia piezophila, which were isolated as primary cultures from Arctic fast sea ice and identified by 16S rDNA sequencing. The Colwellia strains are obligate psychrophiles, with a growth range restricted to 15 °C or less. As such, these organisms have less need for fluidity adaptation in the acyl moiety of the outer membrane, and they do not display alterations in lipid A based on growth temperature. Both Psychrobacter and Colwellia make use of extensive single-methylene variation in the size of their lipid A molecules. Such single-carbon variations in acyl size were thought to be restricted to psychrotolerant (facultative) species, but its presence in these Colwellia species shows that odd-chain acyl units and a single-carbon variation in lipid A structure are present in obligate psychrophiles, as well.
Sweet, C. R., Watson, R. E., Landis, C. A., & Smith, J. P. (2015). Temperature-dependence of lipid a acyl structure in Psychrobacter cryohalolentis and arctic isolates of Colwellia hornerae and Colwellia piezophila. Marine Drugs, 13(8), 4701–4720. https://doi.org/10.3390/md13084701