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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 153561, 16 pages
Review Article

Regulated Control of the Assembly and Diversity of LPS by Noncoding sRNAs

Unit of Bacterial Genetics, Gdansk University of Technology, Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233 Gdansk, Poland

Received 10 August 2015; Revised 7 October 2015; Accepted 13 October 2015

Academic Editor: Claudio Valverde

Copyright © 2015 Gracjana Klein and Satish Raina. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria is asymmetric due to the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) facing the outer leaflet of the OM and phospholipids facing the periplasmic side. LPS is essential for bacterial viability, since it provides a permeability barrier and is a major virulence determinant in pathogenic bacteria. In Escherichia coli, several steps of LPS biosynthesis and assembly are regulated by the RpoE sigma factor and stress responsive two-component systems as well as dedicated small RNAs. LPS composition is highly heterogeneous and dynamically altered upon stress and other challenges in the environment because of the transcriptional activation of RpoE regulon members and posttranslational control by RpoE-regulated Hfq-dependent RybB and MicA sRNAs. The PhoP/Q two-component system further regulates Kdo2-lipid A modification via MgrR sRNA. Some of these structural alterations are critical for antibiotic resistance, OM integrity, virulence, survival in host, and adaptation to specific environmental niches. The heterogeneity arises following the incorporation of nonstoichiometric modifications in the lipid A part and alterations in the composition of inner and outer core of LPS. The biosynthesis of LPS and phospholipids is tightly coupled. This requires the availability of metabolic precursors, whose accumulation is controlled by sRNAs like SlrA, GlmZ, and GlmY.