Insertion of proteins and lipopolysaccharide into the bacterial outer membrane.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a main component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, which is essential for the vitality of most Gram-negative bacteria and plays a critical role for drug resistance. LptD/E complex forms a N-terminal LPS transport slide, a hydrophobic intramembrane hole and the hydrophilic channel of the barrel, for LPS transport, lipid A insertion and core oligosaccharide and O-antigen polysaccharide translocation, respectively. However, there is no direct evidence to confirm that LptD/E transports LPS from the periplasm to the external leaflet of the outer membrane. By replacing LptD residues with an unnatural amino acid p-benzoyl-L-phenyalanine (pBPA) and UV-photo-cross-linking in E.coli, the translocon and LPS intermediates were obtained at the N-terminal domain, the intramembrane hole, the lumenal gate, the lumen of LptD channel, and the extracellular loop 1 and 4, providing the first direct evidence and "snapshots" to reveal LPS translocation steps across the outer membrane.