Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide, OPS, and Lipid A

  • Antonio MolinaroEmail author
  • Cristina De Castro
  • Michelangelo Parrilli
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_78-1

Lipopolysaccharides are amphiphilic molecules indispensable for viability and survival of Gram-negative bacteria, as they heavily contribute to the structural integrity of their outer membrane (OM) and to the protection of the bacterial cell envelope (Di Lorenzo et al. 2015). The highly ordered structure and low fluidity of the LPS layer, stabilized by electrostatic interactions between divalent cations (as Ca2+ and Mg2+) and negatively charged groups present on LPS molecules, are responsible for the increase of permeability to hydrophobic compounds and to higher molecular weight hydrophilic compounds but also for Gram-negative superior resistance to external stress factors. Indeed, only certain antibiotics directed against Gram-negative bacteria, such as polymyxin B, are able to destabilize abovementioned ionic interactions leading to the disruption of membrane integrity. In addition, since they are exposed toward the external environment, LPS molecules participate in crucial...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Molinaro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina De Castro
    • 2
  • Michelangelo Parrilli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical SciencesUniversità di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural SciencesUniversità di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Elizabeth Hounsell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological and Chemical SciencesBirkbeck College, University of LondonLondonUK