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Dr. Shu Sin Chng - Bacterial lipid trafficking and outer membrane homeostasis


Shu Sin Chng

National University of Singapore (SCELSE-NUS), Singapore

Bacterial lipid trafficking and outer membrane homeostasis


Diderm bacteria, such as Gram-negative bacteria and mycobacteria, contain two lipid bilayers in their cellular envelopes – an inner membrane (IM) comprising mostly of phospholipids (PLs), and an outer membrane (OM) that additionally contains unique glycolipids (lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in Gram-negative bacteria and mycolic acids in mycobacteria). The OM is essential for growth in these organisms. Furthermore, the OM serves as an effective permeability barrier that in part allows Gram-negative bacteria and mycobacteria to survive in harsh environments, and renders them intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics. Despite the importance of the OMs in these bacteria, the processes that assemble these bilayers, in particular lipid transport, are not well understood. In this seminar, I will describe our work in understanding and characterizing lipid trafficking pathways in Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium smegmatis, and discuss how these systems function in maintaining lipid homeostasis in the OMs of these organisms.


Selected references

  • Yeow J, Tan KW, Holdbrook DA, Chong ZS, Marzinek JK, Bond PJ, Chng SS (2018) Molecular basis for the maintenance of lipid asymmetry in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. (in revision; preprint at bioRxiv (doi: 10.1101/192500)).
  • Shrivastava R, Jiang XE, Chng SS (2017) Outer membrane lipid homeostasis via retrograde phospholipid transport in Escherichia coli. Mol Microbiol 106:395-408.
  • Xu ZJ, Meshcheryakov VA, Poce G, Chng SS (2017) MmpL3 is the flippase for mycolic acids in mycobacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:7993-7998.
  • Thong SH, Ercan B, Torta F, Fong ZY, Wong HYA, Wenk MR, Chng SS (2016) Defining key roles for auxiliary proteins in an ABC transporter that maintains bacterial outer membrane lipid asymmetry. eLife 5:e19042.
  • Chong ZS, Woo WF, Chng SS (2015) Osmoporin OmpC forms a complex with MlaA to maintain outer membrane lipid asymmetry in Escherichia coli. Mol Micobiol 98:1133-1146.


Contact: Hédia Marrakchi ( or Olivier Neyrolles (

Note for visitors: Please come with a valid identity card


22 May

11:00 - 12:00

Seminar room - IPBS - Campus 205