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1.  Stability of Lactic Acid Bacteria to Freezing as Related to Their Fatty Acid Composition 
The viability of Streptococcus lactis and Lactobacillus sp. A-12 after freezing at -17°C for 48 h was better preserved when the cells were grown in medium supplemented with oleic acid or Tween 80 (polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate). A pronounced change in the cellular fatty acid composition was noted when the bacteria were grown in the presence of Tween 80. In S. lactis the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids increased from 1.18 to 2.55 and in Lactobacillus sp. A-12 it increased from 0.85 to 1.67 when Tween 80 was added to the growth medium. The antibiotic cerulenin markedly inhibited the growth of lactic acid bacteria in tomato juice (TJ) medium but had almost no effect on the growth of the bacteria in TJ medium containing Tween 80 (or oleic acid). The antibiotic inhibited markedly the incorporation of [1-14C]acetate but had no inhibitory effect on the incorporation of exogenous [1-14C]oleate (or [1-14C]palmitate) into the lipid fractions of lactic acid bacteria. Thus, the fatty acid composition of lactic acid bacteria, inhibited by the antibiotic cerulenin, can be modulated by exogenously added oleic acid (or Tween 80) without the concurrent endogenous fatty acid synthesis from acetate. The data obtained suggest that cerulenin inhibits neither cyclopropane fatty acid synthesis nor elongation of fatty acid acyl intermediates. The radioactivity of cells grown in the presence of [1-14C]oleate and cerulenin was associated mainly with cyclopropane Δ19:0, 20:0 + 20:1, and 21:0 acids. As a consequence, cerulenin caused a decrease in the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids in lactic acid bacteria as compared with cells grown in TJ medium plus Tween 80 but without cerulenin. Cerulenin caused a decrease in the viability of S. lactis and Lactobacillus sp. A-12 after freezing at -17°C for 48 h only when Tween 80 was present in the growth medium. We conclude that the sensitivity of lactic acid bacteria to damage from freezing can be correlated with specific alterations in the cellular fatty acids.
PMCID: PMC170714  PMID: 16345196
2.  Mitochondrial biogenesis during fungal spore germination: effects of the antilipogenic antibiotic cerulenin upon Botryodiplodia spores. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1978;135(2):311-317.
Germination of spores of the fungus Botryodiplodia theobromae was inhibited by the antilipogenic antibiotic cerulenin. The spores remained viable in the presence of the antibiotic, however, and after prolonged incubation they were able to overcome the inhibition. Cerulenin inhibition of germination was reversed by Tween 40 and Tween 60 (derivatives of palmitate and stearate, respectively), but not by representatives of a range of free fatty acids or their soaps. Cerulenin abolished incorporation of [14C]acetate into sterols and triglycerides and reduced its incorporation into fatty acids by 69%. Cyanide-sensitive oxygen consumption by spores incubated in the presence of cerulenin was greatly reduced throughout germination, and the activity of cytochrome c oxidase was no more than 13% of the activity in untreated spores, even after prolonged incubation. However, low-temperature difference spectra of mitochondrial extracts showed that the cerulenin-treated spores accumulated a threefold excess of cytochrome a, whereas the cellular concentrations of cytochroms c and b were identical to those of untreated spores. Cerulenin treatment sharply reduced the rates of whole spore protein and RNA synthesis. Cerulenin had no effects upon mitochondrial morphology which could be discerned with an electron microscope.
PMCID: PMC222385  PMID: 681274
3.  Effect of Cerulenin on Growth and Lipid Metabolism of Mycoplasmas 
Cerulenin markedly inhibited the growth of Acholeplasma laidlawii. A. axanthum and A. granularum were less susceptible, whereas the sterol-requiring Mycoplasma species examined showed very little susceptibility. The inhibition was not reversed by the addition of long-chain fatty acids to the medium. At a concentration of 20 μg/ml, cerulenin inhibited the incorporation of [14C]acetate into A. laidlawii membrane lipids, but it had no effect on either protein or nucleic acid biosynthesis. Cerulenin inhibited both the de novo synthesis of long-chain fatty acids and the elongation of medium-chain fatty acids. As a result, carotenoid biosynthesis was stimulated, and increased amounts of oleic and elaidic acids were incorporated into membrane polar lipids. Our studies support the concept that cerulenin can serve as a useful tool for obtaining better control of fatty acid composition of A. laidlawii membranes.
PMCID: PMC429518  PMID: 1267428
4.  Long-chain fatty acid assimilation By rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1983;153(2):782-790.
Exogenously supplied long-chain fatty acids have been shown to markedly alleviate the inhibition of phototrophic growth of cultures of Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides caused by the antibiotic cerulenin. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated C18 fatty acids were most effective in relieving growth inhibition mediated by cerulenin. Medium supplementation with saturated fatty acids (C14 to C18) failed to influence the inhibitory effect of cerulenin. The addition of mixtures of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids to the growth medium did not enhance the growth of cerulenin-inhibited cultures above that obtained with individual unsaturated fatty acids as supplements. Resolution and fatty acid analysis of the extractable lipids of R. sphaeroides revealed that exogenously supplied fatty acids were directly incorporated into cellular phospholipids. Cells treated with cerulenin displayed an enrichment in their percentage of total saturated fatty acids irrespective of the presence of exogenous fatty acids. Cerulenin produced comparable inhibitions of the rates of both fatty acid and phospholipid synthesis and was further found to preferentially inhibit unsaturated fatty acid synthesis.
PMCID: PMC221697  PMID: 6600450
5.  Inhibition of Lipid Synthesis in Escherichia coli Cells by the Antibiotic Cerulenin 
The antibiotic cerulenin markedly inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli. The effects of the antibiotic on cellular syntheses were studied by measuring the incorporation of labeled precursors into lipids and macromolecules. During the first 40 min after the addition of cerulenin to a culture of growing cells, lipid synthesis was inhibited more than 90% and ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis about 25%, whereas protein synthesis was not affected. At later periods after cerulenin addition (1 to 2 h), the inhibition of cell growth and of lipid and protein synthesis was complete. Upon removal of cerulenin from the culture, growth was restored and lipid synthesis resumed more rapidly than did the synthesis of protein.
Addition of both palmitate and oleate, but not of either fatty acid alone, reversed the inhibition of growth by cerulenin. These findings support the conclusion that the antibiotic effects of cerulenin are due to a specific inhibition of fatty acid synthesis.
PMCID: PMC444455  PMID: 4597730
6.  Effects of Cerulenin upon the Syntheses of Lipid and Protein and upon the Formation of Respiratory Enzymes in Adapting, Lipid-Limited Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Journal of Bacteriology  1979;139(2):502-506.
When bakers' yeast cells were grown anaerobically in a medium supplemented with Tween 80 and ergosterol, exposure during aeration to the fatty acid synthesis inhibitor, cerulenin, had little effect upon respiratory adaptation, the induction of enzymes of electron transport, or the in vivo incorporation of [14C]leucine into mitochondrial membranes. These lipid-supplemented cells were apparently able to undergo normal respiratory adaptation utilizing endogenous lipids alone. The level of cerulenin used (2 μg/ml) inhibited the in vivo incorporation of [14C]acetate into mitochondrial membrane lipids by 96%. If, however, the cells were deprived of exogenous lipid during anaerobic growth, subsequent exposure to cerulenin severely reduced their capacity to undergo respiratory adaptation, to form enzymes of electron transport, and to incorporate amino acid into both total cell and mitochondrial membrane proteins. This cerulenin-mediated inhibition of enzyme formation and of protein synthesis was nearly completely reversed by the addition of exogenous lipid during the aeration of the cells. In lipid-limited cells, chloramphenicol also had dramatic inhibitory effects, both alone (75%) and together with cerulenin (85%), upon total cell and mitochondrial membrane [14C]leucine incorporation. This marked chloramphenicol-mediated inhibition was also largely reversed by exogenous lipid. It is concluded that, in lipid-limited cells, either cerulenin or chloramphenicol may prevent the emergence of a pattern of lipids required for normal levels of protein synthetic activity. The effect of cerulenin upon the formation of mitochondrial inner membrane enzymes thus appears to reflect a nonspecific effect of this antilipogenic antibiotic upon total cell protein synthesis.
PMCID: PMC216896  PMID: 222735
7.  Inhibition of Vibrio harveyi bioluminescence by cerulenin: in vivo evidence for covalent modification of the reductase enzyme involved in aldehyde synthesis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1989;171(7):3866-3871.
Bacterial bioluminescence is very sensitive to cerulenin, a fungal antibiotic which is known to inhibit fatty acid synthesis. When Vibrio harveyi cells pretreated with cerulenin were incubated with [3H]myristic acid in vivo, acylation of the 57-kilodalton reductase subunit of the luminescence-specific fatty acid reductase complex was specifically inhibited. In contrast, in vitro acylation of both the synthetase and transferase subunits, as well as the activities of luciferase, transferase, and aldehyde dehydrogenase, were not adversely affected by cerulenin. Light emission of wild-type V. harveyi was 20-fold less sensitive to cerulenin at low concentrations (10 micrograms/ml) than that of the dark mutant strain M17, which requires exogenous myristic acid for luminescence because of a defective transferase subunit. The sensitivity of myristic acid-stimulated luminescence in the mutant strain M17 exceeded that of phospholipid synthesis from [14C]acetate, whereas uptake and incorporation of exogenous [14C]myristic acid into phospholipids was increased by cerulenin. The reductase subunit could be labeled by incubating M17 cells with [3H]tetrahydrocerulenin; this labeling was prevented by preincubation with either unlabeled cerulenin or myristic acid. Labeling of the reductase subunit with [3H]tetrahydrocerulenin was also noted in an aldehyde-stimulated mutant (A16) but not in wild-type cells or in another aldehyde-stimulated mutant (M42) in which [3H]myristoyl turnover at the reductase subunit was found to be defective. These results indicate that (i) cerulenin specifically and covalently inhibits the reductase component of aldehyde synthesis, (ii) this enzyme is partially protected from cerulenin inhibition in the wild-type strain in vivo, and (iii) two dark mutants which exhibit similar luminescence phenotypes (mutants A16 and M42) are blocked at different stages of fatty acid reduction.
PMCID: PMC210137  PMID: 2738025
8.  Evidence linking penicillinase formation and secretion to lipid metabolism in Bacillus licheniformis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1978;134(2):434-439.
The formation of penicillinase by cultures of Bacillus licheniformis was preferentially suppressed by cerulenin, an antibiotic known to specifically inhibit fatty acid synthesis in microorganisms. The effect was studied at cerulenin concentrations that had almost no effect on the rate of cell growth and overall protein synthesis, but that reduced the rate of [14C]acetate incorporation (by 50 to 70%), indicating partial inhibition of lipid synthesis. The levels of both the released enzyme (exopenicillinase) and its cell-bound precursor were reduced to the same extent (70% to 80%). Enzyme formation was gradually resumed after the removal of cerulenin or the addition of a mixture of fatty acids prepared from lipids extracted from B. licheniformis. Reversal was less effective as the time interval between treatment with cerulenin and addition of fatty acids increased. We conclude that de novo synthesis of fatty acids is required for the formation of both the membrane-bound and extracellular penicillinase. Suppression of the membrane-bound enzyme is a likely consequence of the altered membrane (decreased lipid-to-lipid ratio and increased density) seen in cerulenin-treated preparations. The corresponding suppression of exopenicillinase is consistent with the view that it is derived from the membrane-bound form. A mechanism linking the general class of exportable proteins to specific aspects of lipid synthesis is discussed.
PMCID: PMC222270  PMID: 659359
9.  The inhibitory effect of cerulenin to yeasts is fungicidal 
Fatty acid biosynthesis plays a significant role in the growth and survival of diverse organisms. In yeasts, the de novo fatty acid synthesis (FAS) pathway produces and regulates essential fatty acid species such as saturated (SFA) and unsaturated (UFA) fatty acids that are required for generation and maintenance of cell membranes. Inhibition of enzymes in this pathway, such as fatty acid synthase and fatty acid desaturase, impede yeast cell growth unless appropriate exogenous fatty acids are provided.1,2 Although, the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway is essential to yeast cells, exploration of this pathway for combating fungal infections has been largely neglected. We and others have shown that deletion of a fatty acid synthase dramatically attenuates the virulence of the yeast Candida parapsilosis 2 and Candida albicans.1 Significantly, our data has revealed that inhibition of FAS enzymes results in the hypersensitivity of the yeast to serum, indicating that targeting this pathway is potentially an ideal way to combat systemic yeast infections.2 We demonstrated that using the minimal inhibitory concentration of cerulenin, a fatty acid synthase inhibitor, we could kill the wild type yeast cells in serum.2 Thus, the inhibitory effect of cerulenin (ie. blockade of the FAS pathway) on the yeast cells is fungicidal.
PMCID: PMC3306321  PMID: 22448300
10.  Inhibition of De Novo Fatty Acid Synthesis by the Antibiotic Cerulenin in Bacillus subtilis: Effects on Citrate-Mg2+ Transport and Synthesis of Macromolecules 
Inhibition of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis by the antibiotic cerulenin in Bacillus subtilis stopped de novo synthesis of neutral lipids and phospholipids. The bacteria ceased growing but remained completely viable. Addition of 12-methyltetradecanoic acid and palmitic acid to the culture medium of cerulenin-treated cells restored growth of the bacteria, albeit at a reduced rate. Although the de novo synthesis of all lipid components of the membrane was blocked, citrate-Mg2+ transport activity remained inducible, and induced cells did not lose this transport activity when treated with cerulenin. Shortly after the addition of cerulenin, the rate of ribonucleic acid synthesis dropped rapidly and was followed by a slower decrease in the rate of protein synthesis. The rate of deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis remained almost unaffected. The rapid decrease of ribonucleic acid synthesis in cerulenin-treated cells might be due to the inhibition of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis or it might be due to a secondary effect of cerulenin in B. subtilis cells.
PMCID: PMC429299  PMID: 810081
11.  Fatty Acid Synthase Inhibitors Induce Apoptosis in Non-Tumorigenic Melan-A Cells Associated with Inhibition of Mitochondrial Respiration 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101060.
The metabolic enzyme fatty acid synthase (FASN) is responsible for the endogenous synthesis of palmitate, a saturated long-chain fatty acid. In contrast to most normal tissues, a variety of human cancers overexpress FASN. One such cancer is cutaneous melanoma, in which the level of FASN expression is associated with tumor invasion and poor prognosis. We previously reported that two FASN inhibitors, cerulenin and orlistat, induce apoptosis in B16-F10 mouse melanoma cells via the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Here, we investigated the effects of these inhibitors on non-tumorigenic melan-a cells. Cerulenin and orlistat treatments were found to induce apoptosis and decrease cell proliferation, in addition to inducing the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and activating caspases-9 and -3. Transfection with FASN siRNA did not result in apoptosis. Mass spectrometry analysis demonstrated that treatment with the FASN inhibitors did not alter either the mitochondrial free fatty acid content or composition. This result suggests that cerulenin- and orlistat-induced apoptosis events are independent of FASN inhibition. Analysis of the energy-linked functions of melan-a mitochondria demonstrated the inhibition of respiration, followed by a significant decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and the stimulation of superoxide anion generation. The inhibition of NADH-linked substrate oxidation was approximately 40% and 61% for cerulenin and orlistat treatments, respectively, and the inhibition of succinate oxidation was approximately 46% and 52%, respectively. In contrast, no significant inhibition occurred when respiration was supported by the complex IV substrate N,N,N′,N′-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine (TMPD). The protection conferred by the free radical scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine indicates that the FASN inhibitors induced apoptosis through an oxidative stress-associated mechanism. In combination, the present results demonstrate that cerulenin and orlistat induce apoptosis in non-tumorigenic cells via mitochondrial dysfunction, independent of FASN inhibition.
PMCID: PMC4071076  PMID: 24964211
12.  Effect of antifungal agents on lipid biosynthesis and membrane integrity in Candida albicans. 
Eight antifungal agents were examined for effects on lipid biosynthesis and membrane integrity in Candida albicans. Lipids were labeled in vivo or in vitro with [14C]acetate and analyzed by thin-layer and gas chromatography. Membrane integrity was measured by a recently developed [14C]aminoisobutyric acid radiolabel release assay. The imidazole antifungal agents miconazole, econazole, clotrimazole, and ketoconazole, at concentrations inhibiting ergosterol biosynthesis (0.1 microM), decreased the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids in vivo but not in vitro. Similarly, naftifine, tolnaftate, and the azasterol A25822B, at concentrations inhibiting ergosterol biosynthesis (10, 100, and 1 microM, respectively), decreased the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids in vivo only. This suggests that the effect on fatty acids observed with ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors may be secondary to the effect on ergosterol. With imidazoles, oleic acid antagonized inhibition of cell growth but not inhibition of ergosterol. This suggests that, with the C-14 demethylase inhibitors, decreased unsaturated fatty acids, rather than decreased ergosterol, are responsible for growth inhibition. Cerulenin, previously reported to be a potent inhibitor of both fatty acid and ergosterol biosynthesis, was found in the present study to inhibit the former (at 5 microM) but not the latter (up to 100 microM). Of the antifungal agents tested, econazole and miconazole (at 100 microM) produced complete release of [14C]aminoisobutyric acid, which is consistent with membrane damage.
PMCID: PMC174649  PMID: 3551826
13.  Inhibition of Sporulation by Cerulenin and Its Reversion by Exogenous Fatty Acids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Sporulation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae G2-2 was inhibited by the antibiotic cerulenin which is known to be a specific inhibitor of fatty acid and sterol synthesis. This inhibition was reversed by various fatty acids, especially by oleic acid (C18:1) and pentadecanoic acid (C15:0). Ergosterol showed only slight reversibility of this inhibition. When cerulenin was added to the sporulation medium later than 12 h after the start of incubation, the marked inhibition disappeared. When the fatty acid fraction extracted from the sporulated yeasts was added to the cells pretreated with cerulenin for more than 6 h, sporulation became evident 6 h after the fatty acid fraction addition. Therefore, sufficient synthesis of fatty acids required for sporulation was assumed to occur during the first 6 h in phase I of yeast sporulation.
PMCID: PMC429471  PMID: 769672
14.  Streptococcus mutans dextransucrase: effect of cerulenin on lipid synthesis and enzyme production. 
Infection and Immunity  1980;28(3):846-852.
The effect of the fatty acid synthesis inhibitor cerulenin on growth and dextransucrase (EC production by Streptococcus mutans 6715 was analyzed. Growth was markedly inhibited by less than 1 microgram of the antibiotic per ml. Under conditions where cerulenin did not inhibit amino acid incorporation into protein but did block acetate metabolism into lipid, the production of extracellular dextransucrase was suppressed. Inhibition was not due to a direct effect of the antibiotic on the enzyme or the lack of release of enzyme from the bacterial cell surface. Gel column chromatography demonstrated that enzyme produced in the presence of cerulenin was highly aggregated, similar to the control enzyme. Although the addition of ysophosphatidylcholine to enzyme which had been synthesized in the presence of cerulenin stimulated glucan formation from sucrose, the increase was not greater than that produced with the control enzyme. The differential inhibition of dextransucrase production by cerulenin indicates that enzyme secretion requires the production of lipid and may reflect the mechanism by whch this enzyme is transported from the bacterial cell.
PMCID: PMC551028  PMID: 6156908
15.  Membrane lipid biosynthesis in Acholeplasma laidlawii B: de novo biosynthesis of saturated fatty acids by growing cells. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1977;132(2):497-504.
The de novo biosynthesis of fatty acids of 12 to 18 carbons from precursors of 5 carbons or fewer has been demonstrated in Acholeplasma laidlawii B. Radiolabeling experiments indicated that the normal primers for the synthesis of the even- and odd-chain fatty acids are acetate and propionate or valerate, respectively. Saturated straight-chain monomethyl-branched fatty acids of up to five carbons were readily utilized as primers, wheras more highly branched species and those possessing halogen substituents or unsaturation were not utilized. At primer concentrations of 1 to 3 mM, up to 80% of the total cellular lipid fatty acids were derived from exogenous primer. The mean chain length of the exogenous primer-derived fatty acids rose with increasing primer incorporation for methyl-branched short-chain fatty acids but was invariant for propionate. The products of de novo biosynthesis varied only slightly with temperature or cholesterol supplementation, suggesting that de novo biosynthesis is not directly influenced by membrane fluidity. Cerulenin inhibited de novo biosynthesis in a fashion that suggests the presence of two beta-ketoacyl thioester synthetases, which differ in substrate chain length specificity and in susceptibility to inhibition by the antibiotic.
PMCID: PMC221888  PMID: 914777
16.  Accumulation of Polyhydroxyalkanoic Acid Containing Large Amounts of Unsaturated Monomers in Pseudomonas fluorescens BM07 Utilizing Saccharides and Its Inhibition by 2-Bromooctanoic Acid 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2001;67(11):4963-4974.
A psychrotrophic bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens BM07, which is able to accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoic acid (PHA) containing large amounts of 3-hydroxy-cis-5-dodecenoate unit up to 35 mol% in the cell from unrelated substrates such as fructose, succinate, etc., was isolated from an activated sludge in a municipal wastewater treatment plant. When it was grown on heptanoic acid (C7) to hexadecanoic acid (C16) as the sole carbon source, the monomer compositional characteristics of the synthesized PHA were similar to those observed in other fluorescent pseudomonads belonging to rRNA homology group I. However, growth on stearic acid (C18) led to no PHA accumulation, but instead free stearic acid was stored in the cell. The existence of the linkage between fatty acid de novo synthesis and PHA synthesis was confirmed by using inhibitors such as acrylic acid and two other compounds, 2-bromooctanoic acid and 4-pentenoic acid, which are known to inhibit β-oxidation enzymes in animal cells. Acrylic acid completely inhibited PHA synthesis at a concentration of 4 mM in 40 mM octanoate-grown cells, but no inhibition of PHA synthesis occurred in 70 mM fructose-grown cells in the presence of 1 to 5 mM acrylic acid. 2-Bromooctanoic acid and 4-pentenoic acid were found to much inhibit PHA synthesis much more strongly in fructose-grown cells than in octanoate-grown cells over concentrations ranging from 1 to 5 mM. However, 2-bromooctanoic acid and 4-pentenoic acid did not inhibit cell growth at all in the fructose media. Especially, with the cells grown on fructose, 2-bromooctanoic acid exhibited a steep rise in the percent PHA synthesis inhibition over a small range of concentrations below 100 μM, a finding indicative of a very specific inhibition, whereas 4-pentenoic acid showed a broad, featureless concentration dependence, suggesting a rather nonspecific inhibition. The apparent inhibition constant Ki (the concentration for 50% inhibition of PHA synthesis) for 2-bromooctanoic acid was determined to be 60 μM, assuming a single-site binding of the inhibitor at a specific inhibition site. Thus, it seems likely that a coenzyme A thioester derivative of 2-bromooctanoic acid specifically inhibits an enzyme linking the two pathways, fatty acid de novo synthesis and PHA synthesis. We suggest that 2-bromooctanoic acid can substitute for the far more expensive (2,000 times) and cell-growth-inhibiting PHA synthesis inhibitor, cerulenin.
PMCID: PMC93259  PMID: 11679314
17.  Response of Bacillus subtilis to Cerulenin and Acquisition of Resistance 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(10):3032-3040.
Cerulenin is a fungal mycotoxin that potently inhibits fatty acid synthesis by covalent modification of the active site thiol of the chain-elongation subtypes of β-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) synthases. The Bacillus subtilis fabF (yjaY) gene (fabFb) encodes an enzyme that catalyzes the condensation of malonyl-ACP with acyl-ACP to extend the growing acyl chain by two carbons. There were two mechanisms by which B. subtilis adapted to exposure to this antibiotic. First, reporter gene analysis demonstrated that transcription of the operon containing the fabF gene increased eightfold in response to a cerulenin challenge. This response was selective for the inhibition of fatty acid synthesis, since triclosan, an inhibitor of enoyl-ACP reductase, triggered an increase in fabF reporter gene expression while nalidixic acid did not. Second, spontaneous mutants arose that exhibited a 10-fold increase in the MIC of cerulenin. The mutation mapped at the B. subtilis fabF locus, and sequence analysis of the mutant fabF allele showed that a single base change resulted in the synthesis of FabFb[I108F]. The purified FabFb and FabFb[I108F] proteins had similar specific activities with myristoyl-ACP as the substrate. FabFb exhibited a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of cerulenin of 0.1 μM, whereas the IC50 for FabFb[I108] was 50-fold higher (5 μM). These biochemical data explain the absence of an overt growth defect coupled with the cerulenin resistance phenotype of the mutant strain.
PMCID: PMC95202  PMID: 11325930
18.  Mechanism of biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids in Pseudomonas sp. strain E-3, a psychrotrophic bacterium. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1989;171(8):4267-4271.
Biosynthesis of palmitic, palmitoleic, and cis-vaccenic acids in Pseudomonas sp. strain E-3 was investigated with in vitro and in vivo systems. [1-14C]palmitic acid was aerobically converted to palmitoleate and cis-vaccenate, and the radioactivities on their carboxyl carbons were 100 and 43%, respectively, of the total radioactivity in the fatty acids. Palmitoyl coenzyme A desaturase activity was found in the membrane fraction. [1-14C]stearic acid was converted to octadecenoate and C16 fatty acids. The octadecenoate contained oleate and cis-vaccenate, but only oleate was produced in the presence of cerulenin. [1-14C]lauric acid was aerobically converted to palmitate, palmitoleate, and cis-vaccenate. Under anaerobic conditions, palmitate (62%), palmitoleate (4%), and cis-vaccenate (34%) were produced from [1-14C]acetic acid, while they amounted to 48, 39, and 14%, respectively, under aerobic conditions. In these incorporation experiments, 3 to 19% of the added radioactivity was detected in released 14CO2, indicating that part of the added fatty acids were oxidatively decomposed. Partially purified fatty acid synthetase produced saturated and unsaturated fatty acids with chain lengths of C10 to C18. These results indicated that both aerobic and anaerobic mechanisms for the synthesis of unsaturated fatty acid are operating in this bacterium.
PMCID: PMC210200  PMID: 2753856
19.  Retraction: Fatty acid synthase is a novel therapeutic target in multiple myeloma 
British Journal of Haematology  2008;141(5):659-671.
This study investigated the biological significance of the inhibition of fatty acid synthase (FAS) in multiple myeloma (MM) using the small molecule inhibitor Cerulenin. Cerulenin triggered growth inhibition in both MM cell lines and MM patient cells, and overcame the survival and growth advantages conferred by interleukin-6, insulin-like growth factor-1, and bone marrow stromal cells. It induced apoptosis in MM cell lines with only modest activation of caspase -8, -9, -3 and PARP; moreover, the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK did not inhibit Cerulenin-induced apoptosis and cell death. In addition, treatment of MM cells with Cerulenin primarily up-regulated apoptosis-inducing factor/endonuclease G, mediators of caspase-independent apoptosis. Importantly, Cerulenin induced endoplasmic reticulum stress response via up-regulation of the Grp78/IRE1α/JNK pathway. Although the C-Jun-NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600215 blocked Cerulenin-induced cytotoxicity, it did not inhibit apoptosis and caspase cleavage. Furthermore, Cerulenin showed synergistic cytotoxic effects with various agents including Bortezomib, Melphalan and Doxorubicin. Our results therefore indicate that inhibition of FAS by Cerulenin primarily triggered caspase-independent apoptosis and JNK-dependent cytotoxicity in MM cells. This report demonstrated that inhibition of FAS has anti-tumour activity against MM cells, suggesting that it represents a novel therapeutic target in MM.
PMCID: PMC2408665  PMID: 18410446
multiple myeloma; fatty acid synthase; apoptosis; JNK
20.  Eucaryote thermophily: role of lipids in the growth of Talaromyces thermophilus. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1983;156(2):493-497.
The effects of growth temperature on the fatty acid composition of the phospholipids of the fungus Talaromyces thermophilus were investigated. This thermophilic organism was unable to increase the degree of unsaturation of its fatty acids when shifted from high to low growth temperatures. Inhibition of fatty acid synthesis by the antibiotic cerulenin was reversed by the addition of a mixture of palmitic, stearic, and oleic acids and ergosterol. The data obtained were consistent with the hypothesis that the thermophilic character of T. thermophilus is due to metabolic limitations that restrict its ability to regulate membrane fluidity.
PMCID: PMC217859  PMID: 6630144
21.  Inhibition of a nutrient-dependent pinocytosis in dictyostelium discoideum by the amino acid analogue hadacidin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1981;91(1):227-231.
In the present study we examine the effects of the drug hadacidin (N-formyl-N- hydroxyglycine) on pinocytosis in the eukaryotic microorganism dictyostelium discoideum. At concentrations of up to approximately 8 mg/ml, hadacidin inhibited the rate of pinocytosis of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) dextran in cells in growth medium in a concentration-dependent manner but had no effect on cells in starvation medium. Because hadacidin also inhibits cellular proliferation at this concentration, the relationship between growth rate and pinocytosis was studied further using another drug, cerulenin, to produce growth-arrest. These experiments showed no changes in the rate pinocytosis even after complete cessation of cellular proliferation. Other studies showed that the transfer of cells from growth to starvation medium reduced the rate of pinocytosis by approximately 50 percent. A reduction of similar magnitude occurred if cells were transferred from growth to starvation medium containing hadacidin. Also, no additional reduction in pinocytosis occurred when cells that had been treated with hadacidin were transferred to starvation medium containing hadacidin. These cells were able to take up [(14)C]hadacidin in the starvation medium. In contrast to the results with hadacidin-treated cells, cells in a cerulenin-induced state of growth-arrest when transferred to starvation medium exhibited the same 50 percent reduction in pinocytosis observed in cells not previously exposed to either drug. Cells treated with azide, in either growth or starvation medium, exhibited an immediate inhibition of all pinocytotic activity. After the transfer of log-phase cells to starvation medium supplemented with glucose, the reduction in rate was only approximately 10-15 percent. In contrast, a 50 percent reduction was observed after supplementation of starvation medium with sucrose, KCl, or concanavalin A. Maintaining the cells in growth medium containing hadacidin for as long as 16 h had no effect on the rate at which cells aggregated. These results are consistent with the conclusion that D. discoideum exhibits two types of pinocytotic activity: one that is nutrient dependent and the other independent of nutrients. This latter activity persists in starvation medium and is unaffected by hadacidin, whereas the nutrient-dependent activity is present in growth medium and is inhibited by hadacidin.
PMCID: PMC2111929  PMID: 7298718
We have presented evidence that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is present in mouse oocytes and is an important component of the meiotic induction system. In the present study, we have examined the potential role of fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in AMPK-induced meiotic maturation, because this is one of the pathways commonly activated by AMPK. Etomoxir and malonyl CoA, two inhibitors of carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 (CPT1), and thus FAO, blocked meiotic induction in dbcAMP-arrested cumulus cell-enclosed oocytes (CEO) and denuded oocytes (DO) by the AMPK activator, AICAR. C75, an activator of CPT1 and FAO, stimulated meiotic resumption in CEO and DO. This effect was insensitive to the AMPK inhibitor, compound C, indicating an action downstream of AMPK. Palmitic acid or carnitine also promoted meiotic resumption in DO in the presence of a low concentration of AICAR. Since C75 also suppresses the activity of fatty acid synthase (FAS), we tested another FAS inhibitor, cerulenin. Cerulenin stimulated maturation in arrested oocytes, but to a lesser extent, exhibited significantly slower kinetics and was effective in CEO but not DO. Moreover, etomoxir completely blocked C75-induced maturation but was ineffective in cerulenin-treated oocytes. These results indicate that the meiosis-inducing action of C75 is through activation of FAO within the oocyte, while that of cerulenin is independent of FAO and acts within the cumulus cells. Finally, we determined that long chain, but not short chain, fatty acyl carnitine derivatives, which can enter the FAO pathway downstream of the site of etomoxir inhibition, were stimulatory to oocyte maturation. The C16 derivative, palmitoyl carnitine (PC), stimulated maturation in both CEO and DO, with rapid kinetics in DO (an increase in maturation after 2 h from 11% to 62% in hypoxanthine-supplemented medium); this effect was insensitive to etomoxir treatment but was inhibited by mercaptoacetate and 2-bromo-octanoic acid, both downstream inhibitors of FAO. These results are consistent with the idea that activation of AMPK stimulates meiotic resumption in mouse oocytes by eliminating a block to FAO.
PMCID: PMC3995453  PMID: 19455666
fatty acid oxidation; oocyte maturation; AMPK
23.  Monounsaturated but Not Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Are Required for Growth of the Deep-Sea Bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 at High Pressure and Low Temperature 
There is considerable evidence correlating the production of increased proportions of membrane unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) with bacterial growth at low temperatures or high pressures. In order to assess the importance of UFAs to microbial growth under these conditions, the effects of conditions altering UFA levels in the psychrotolerant piezophilic deep-sea bacterium Photobacterium profundum SS9 were investigated. The fatty acids produced by P. profundum SS9 grown at various temperatures and pressures were characterized, and differences in fatty acid composition as a function of phase growth, and between inner and outer membranes, were noted. P. profundum SS9 was found to exhibit enhanced proportions of both monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fatty acids when grown at a decreased temperature or elevated pressure. Treatment of cells with cerulenin inhibited MUFA but not PUFA synthesis and led to a decreased growth rate and yield at low temperature and high pressure. In addition, oleic acid-auxotrophic mutants were isolated. One of these mutants, strain EA3, was deficient in the production of MUFAs and was both low-temperature sensitive and high-pressure sensitive in the absence of exogenous 18:1 fatty acid. Another mutant, strain EA2, produced little MUFA but elevated levels of the PUFA species eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3). This mutant grew slowly but was not low-temperature sensitive or high-pressure sensitive. Finally, reverse genetics was employed to construct a mutant unable to produce EPA. This mutant, strain EA10, was also not low-temperature sensitive or high-pressure sensitive. The significance of these results to the understanding of the role of UFAs in growth under low-temperature or high-pressure conditions is discussed.
PMCID: PMC91242  PMID: 10103272
24.  Shifts in the Membrane Fatty Acid Profile of Streptococcus mutans Enhance Survival in Acidic Environments 
Acid adaptation of Streptococcus mutans UA159 involves several different mechanisms, including the ability to alter its proportion of long-chain, monounsaturated membrane fatty acids (R. G. Quivey, Jr., R. Faustoferri, K. Monahan, and R. Marquis, FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 189:89-92, 2000). In the present study, we examined the mechanism and timing of changes in fatty acid ratios and the potential benefit that an increased proportion of long-chained fatty acids has for the organism during growth at low pH. Cells taken from steady-state cultures at intermediate pH values of 6.5, 6, and 5.5 showed incremental changes from the short-chained, saturated membrane fatty acid profile normally seen in pH 7 cultures to the long-chained, monounsaturated fatty acids more typically observed in acidic cultures (pH 5). Our observations showed that the bacterium was capable of effecting the majority of changes in approximately 20 min, far less than one generation time. However, reversion to the distribution of fatty acids seen in cells growing at a pH of 7 required a minimum of 10 generations. Fatty acid composition analysis of cells taken from cultures treated with chloramphenicol suggested that the changes in fatty acid distribution did not require de novo protein synthesis. Cells treated with the fatty acid biosynthesis inhibitor cerulenin were unable to alter their membrane fatty acid profiles and were unable to survive severe acidification. Results presented here indicate that membrane fatty acid redistribution is important for low pH survival and, as such, is a component of the S. mutans acid-adaptation arsenal.
PMCID: PMC348902  PMID: 14766573
25.  Lipid acyl chain-dependent effects of sterols in Acholeplasma laidlawii membranes. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1987;169(2):830-838.
Acholeplasma laidlawii was grown with different fatty acids for membrane lipid synthesis (saturated straight- and branched-chain acids and mono- and di-unsaturated acids). The ability of 12 different sterols to affect cell growth, lipid head group composition, the order parameter of the acyl chains, and the phase equilibria of in vivo lipid mixtures was studied. The following two effects were observed with respect to cell growth: with a given acyl chain composition of the membrane lipids, growth was stimulated, unaffected, reduced, or completely inhibited (lysis), depending on the sterol structure; and the effect of a certain sterol depended on the acyl chain composition (most striking for epicoprostanol, cholest-4-en-3-one, and cholest-5-en-3-one, which stimulated growth with saturated acyl chains but caused lysis with unsaturated chains). The three lytic sterols were the only sterols that caused a marked decrease in the ratio between the major lipids monoglucosyldiglyceride and diglucosyldiglyceride and hence a decrease in bilayer stability when the membranes were enriched in saturated (palmitoyl) chains. With these chains correlations were found for several sterols between the glucolipid ratio and the order parameter of the acyl chains, as well as the lamellar-reversed hexagonal phase transition, in model systems. A shaft experiment revealed a marked decrease in the ratio of monoglucosyldiglyceride to diglucosyldiglyceride with the lytic sterols in unsaturated (oleoyl) membranes. The two cholestenes induced nonlamellar phases in in vivo mixtures of oleoyl A. laidlawii lipids. The order parameters of the oleoyl chains were almost unaffected by the sterols. Generally, the observed effects cannot be explained by an influence of the sterols on the gel-to-liquid crystalline phase transition.
PMCID: PMC211854  PMID: 3027049

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