Abstract: Mitochondria, chloroplasts and photosynthetic bacteria are characterized by the presence of complex and
intricate membrane systems. In contrast, non-photosynthetic bacteria lack membrane structures within their
cytoplasm. However, large scale over-production of some membrane proteins, such as the fumarate reductase,
the mannitol permeaseMtlA, the glycerol acyl transferase PlsB, the chemotaxis receptor Tsr or the ATP synthase
subunit b, can induce the proliferation of intra cellular membranes (ICMs) in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli.
These ICMs are particularly rich in cardiolipin (CL). Here, we have studied the effect of CL in the generation of
these membranous structures.We have deleted the three genes (clsA, clsB and clsC) responsible of CL biosynthesis
in E. coli and analysed the effect of these mutations by fluorescent and electron microscopy and by lipid mass
spectrometry.We have found that CL is essential in the formation of non-lamellar structures in the cytoplasm of
E. coli cells. These results could help to understand the structuration of membranes in E. coli and other membrane
organelles, such as mitochondria and ER.
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