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Pubmed ID :18573680
Publication Date : //

Expression, essentiality, and a microtiter plate assay for mycobacterial GlmU, the bifunctional glucosamine-1-phosphate acetyltransferase and N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate uridyltransferase.


UDP-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) is an essential precursor of peptidoglycan and the rhamnose-GlcNAc linker region of mycobacterial cell wall. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv genome, Rv1018c shows strong homology to the GlmU protein involved in the formation of UDP-GlcNAc from other bacteria. GlmU is a bifunctional enzyme that catalyzes two sequential steps in UDP-GlcNAc biosynthesis. Glucosamine-1-phosphate acetyl transferase catalyzes the formation of N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate, and N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase catalyzes the formation of UDP-GlcNAc. Since inhibition of peptidoglycan synthesis often results in cell lysis, M. tuberculosis GlmU is a potential anti-tuberculosis (TB) drug target. In this study we cloned M. tuberculosis Rv1018c (glmU gene) and expressed soluble GlmU protein in E. coli BL21(DE3). Enzymatic assays showed that M. tuberculosis GlmU protein exhibits both glucosamine-1-phosphate acetyltransferase and N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase activities. We also investigated the effect on Mycobacterium smegmatis when the activity of GlmU is fully removed or reduced via a genetic approach. The results showed that activity of GlmU is required for growth of M. smegmatis as the bacteria did not grow in the absence of active GlmU enzyme. As the amount of functional GlmU enzyme was gradually reduced in a temperature shift experiment, the M. smegmatis cells became non-viable and their morphology changed from a normal rod shape to stubby-rounded morphology and in some cases they lysed. Finally a microtiter plate based assay for GlmU activity with an OD340 read out was developed. These studies therefore support the further development of M. tuberculosis GlmU enzyme as a target for new anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Authors : Zhang Wenli , Jones Victoria C , Scherman Michael S , Mahapatra Sebabrata , Crick Dean , Bhamidi Suresh , Xin Yi , McNeil Michael R , Ma Yufang ,

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