The Making and Taking of Lipids: The Role of Bacterial Lipid Synthesis and the Harnessing of Host Lipids in Bacterial Pathogenesis

E. M. Fozo, E. A. Rucks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

28 Scopus citations


In order to survive environmental stressors, including those induced by growth in the human host, bacterial pathogens will adjust their membrane physiology accordingly. These physiological changes also include the use of host-derived lipids to alter their own membranes and feed central metabolic pathways. Within the host, the pathogen is exposed to many stressful stimuli. A resulting adaptation is for pathogens to scavenge the host environment for readily available lipid sources. The pathogen takes advantage of these host-derived lipids to increase or decrease the rigidity of their own membranes, to provide themselves with valuable precursors to feed central metabolic pathways, or to impact host signalling and processes. Within, we review the diverse mechanisms that both extracellular and intracellular pathogens employ to alter their own membranes as well as their use of host-derived lipids in membrane synthesis and modification, in order to increase survival and perpetuate disease within the human host. Furthermore, we discuss how pathogen employed mechanistic utilization of host-derived lipids allows for their persistence, survival and potentiation of disease. A more thorough understanding of all of these mechanisms will have direct consequences for the development of new therapeutics, and specifically, therapeutics that target pathogens, while preserving normal flora.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Microbial Physiology
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages105
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Microbial Physiology
ISSN (Print)0065-2911


  • Bacterial pathogenesis
  • Bacterial stress response
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Physiology


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