Birch, Helen and Alderwick, Luke J. and Bhatt, Apoorva and Rittmann, Doris and Krumbach, Karin and Singh, Albel and Bai, Yu and Lowary, Todd L. and Eggeling, Lothar and Besra, Gurdyal S (2008) Biosynthesis of mycobacterial arabinogalactan: identification of a novel (13)arabinofuranosyltransferase. Molecular Microbiology. ISSN 0950-382X
Identification Number/DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06354.x
The cell wall mycolyl-arabinogalactan-peptidoglycan complex is essential in mycobacterial species, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is the target of several anti-tubercular drugs. For instance, ethambutol targets arabinogalactan biosynthesis through inhibition of the arabinofuranosyltransferases Mt-EmbA and Mt-EmbB. A bioinformatics approach identified putative integral membrane proteins, MSMEG2785 in Mycobacterium smegmatis, Rv2673 in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and NCgl1822 in Corynebacterium glutamicum, with 10 predicted transmembrane domains and a glycosyltransferase motif (DDX), features that are common to the GT-C superfamily of glycosyltransferases. Deletion of M. smegmatis MSMEG2785 resulted in altered growth and glycosyl linkage analysis revealed the absence of AG (13)-linked arabinofuranosyl (Araf) residues. Complementation of the M. smegmatis deletion mutant was fully restored to a wild type phenotype by MSMEG2785 and Rv2673, and as a result, we have now termed this previously uncharacterized open reading frame, arabinofuranosyltransferase C (aftC). Enzyme assays using the sugar donor -D-arabinofuranosyl-1-monophosphoryldecaprenol (DPA) and a newly synthesized linear (15)-linked Ara5 neoglycolipid acceptor together with chemical identification of products formed, clearly identified AftC as a branching (13) arabinofuranosyltransferase. This newly discovered glycosyltransferase sheds further light on the complexities of Mycobacterium cell wall biosynthesis, such as in M. tuberculosis and related species and represents a potential new drug target.
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