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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lipopolysaccharide core glycosylation in Rhizobium leguminosarum. An unusual mannosyl transferase resembling the heptosyl transferase I of Escherichia coli.

The lipopolysaccharide structure of the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Rhizobium leguminosarum differs from that of Escherichia coli in several ways, one of which is the sugar composition of the core. The E. coli inner core consists of 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo) and L-glycero-D-manno-heptose (heptose), while the inner core of R. leguminosarum contains 2-keto-3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo), mannose, galactose, and galacturonic acid. The two Kdo residues and their linkages appear to be identical in both species. The linkages of heptose in E. coli and of mannose in R. leguminosarum to Kdo are both alpha1-5. We now characterize a membrane-associated glycosyl transferase in R. leguminosarum extracts that incorporates mannose into nascent lipopolysaccharide, using Kdo2-lipid IVA as the acceptor and GDP-mannose (or synthetic ADP-mannose) as the donor. The mannosyl transferase is associated with the inner membrane. The apparent Km values for GDP-mannose and Kdo2-lipid IVA are 4.3 microM and 7.1 microM, respectively, in the presence of excess co-substrate. Extracts of E. coli do not catalyze GDP-mannose-dependent glycosylation of Kdo2-lipid IVA, but they are active when ADP-mannose is substituted for GDP-mannose. Given the structural similarity of ADP-mannose to ADP-heptose, we examined the possibility that heptosyl transferase I of E. coli (the product of the rfaC gene) catalyzes mannose transfer from ADP-mannose to Kdo2-lipid IVA. Extracts of E. coli mutants defective in the rfaC gene are unable carry out ADP-mannose-dependent glycosylation of Kdo2-lipid IVA. Plasmids bearing rfaC+ not only restore the missing activity but also direct its overexpression. Our assay using ADP-mannose as a substitute for ADP-heptose (which is not readily available) should facilitate the purification and characterization of heptosyl transferase I of E. coli. The GDP-mannose-dependent enzyme of R. leguminosarum may represent a functional equivalent of E. coli RfaC.[1]


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