Convergent evolution of bacterial ceramide synthesis

Gabriele Stankeviciute, Peijun Tang, Ben Ashley, Joshua D. Chamberlain, Matthew E. B. Hansen, Aimiyah Coleman, Rachel D’emilia, Larina Fu, Eric C. Mohan, Hung Nguyen, Ziqiang Guan, Dominic J. Campopiano, Eric A. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The bacterial domain produces numerous types of sphingolipids with various physiological functions. In the human microbiome, commensal and pathogenic bacteria use these lipids to modulate the host inflammatory system. Despite their growing importance, their biosynthetic pathway remains undefined since several key eukaryotic ceramide synthesis enzymes have no bacterial homolog. Here we used genomic and biochemical approaches to identify six proteins comprising the complete pathway for bacterial ceramide synthesis. Bioinformatic analyses revealed the widespread potential for bacterial ceramide synthesis leading to our discovery of a Gram-positive species that produces ceramides. Biochemical evidence demonstrated that the bacterial pathway operates in a different order from that in eukaryotes. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses support the hypothesis that the bacterial and eukaryotic ceramide pathways evolved independently.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Early online date30 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2021


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