The lipid composition of Legionella dumoffii membrane modulates the interaction with Galleria mellonella apolipophorin III

Marta Palusinska-Szysz, Agnieszka Zdybicka-Barabas, Emilia Reszczyńska, Rafał Luchowski, Magdalena Kania, Nicolas Gisch, Franziska Waldow, Paweł Mak, Witold Danikiewicz, Wieslaw I Gruszecki, Małgorzata Cytryńska

Apolipophorin III (apoLp-III), an insect homolog of human apolipoprotein E (apoE), is a widely used model protein in studies on protein-lipid interactions, and anti-Legionella activity of Galleria mellonella apoLp-III has been documented. Interestingly, exogenous choline-cultured Legionella dumoffii cells are considerably more susceptible to apoLp-III than non-supplemented bacteria. In order to explain these differences, we performed, for the first time, a detailed analysis of L. dumoffii lipids and a comparative lipidomic analysis of membranes of bacteria grown without and in the presence of exogenous choline. 31P NMR analysis of L. dumoffii phospholipids (PLs) revealed a considerable increase in the phosphatidylcholine (PC) content in bacteria cultured on choline medium and a decrease in the phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) content in approximately the same range. The interactions of G. mellonella apoLp-III with lipid bilayer membranes prepared from PLs extracted from non- and choline-supplemented L. dumoffii cells were examined in detail by means of attenuated total reflection- and linear dichroism-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Furthermore, the kinetics of apoLp-III binding to liposomes formed from L. dumoffii PLs was analysed by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy using fluorescently labelled G. mellonella apoLp-III. Our results indicated enhanced binding of apoLp-III to and deeper penetration into lipid membranes formed from PLs extracted from the choline-supplemented bacteria, i.e. characterized by an increased PC/PE ratio. This could explain, at least in part, the higher susceptibility of choline-cultured L. dumoffii to G. mellonella apoLp-III.