Malonyl-acyl carrier protein decarboxylase activity promotes fatty acid and cell envelope biosynthesis in Proteobacteria

Sarah G. Whaley, Christopher D. Radka, Chitra Subramanian, Matthew W. Frank, Charles O. Rock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Bacterial fatty acid synthesis in Escherichia coli is initiated by the condensation of an acetyl-CoA with a malonyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) by the β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III enzyme, FabH. E. coli ΔfabH knockout strains are viable because of the yiiD gene that allows FabH-independent fatty acid synthesis initiation. However, the molecular function of the yiiD gene product is not known. Here, we show the yiiD gene product is a malonyl-ACP decarboxylase (MadA). MadA has two independently folded domains: an amino-terminal N-acetyl transferase (GNAT) domain (MadAN) and a carboxy-terminal hot dog dimerization domain (MadAC) that encodes the malonyl-ACP decarboxylase function. Members of the proteobacterial Mad protein family are either two domain MadA (GNAT-hot dog) or standalone MadB (hot dog) decarboxylases. Using structure-guided, site-directed mutagenesis of MadB from Shewanella oneidensis, we identified Asn45 on a conserved catalytic loop as critical for decarboxylase activity. We also found that MadA, MadAC, or MadB expression all restored normal cell size and growth rates to an E. coli ΔfabH strain, whereas the expression of MadAN did not. Finally, we verified that GlmU, a bifunctional glucosamine-1-phosphate N-acetyl transferase/N-acetyl-glucosamine-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase that synthesizes the key intermediate UDP-GlcNAc, is an ACP binding protein. Acetyl-ACP is the preferred glucosamine-1-phosphate N-acetyl transferase/N-acetyl-glucosamine-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase substrate, in addition to being the substrate for the elongation-condensing enzymes FabB and FabF. Thus, we conclude that the Mad family of malonyl-ACP decarboxylases supplies acetyl-ACP to support the initiation of fatty acid, lipopolysaccharide, peptidoglycan, and enterobacterial common antigen biosynthesis in Proteobacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101434
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 THE AUTHORS. Published by Elsevier Inc on behalf of American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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