Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa lipopolysaccharide O-antigen ligases share similar membrane topology and biochemical properties

Xiang Ruan, Julia Monjaras Feria, Mohamad Hamad, Miguel A. Valvano

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Abstract

WaaL is an inner membrane glycosyltransferase that catalyzes the transfer of O‐antigen polysaccharide from its lipid‐linked intermediate to a terminal sugar of the lipid A‐core oligosaccharide, a conserved step in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Ligation occurs at the periplasmic side of the bacterial cell membrane, suggesting the catalytic region of WaaL faces the periplasm. Establishing the membrane topology of the WaaL protein family will enable understanding its mechanism and exploit it as a potential antimicrobial target. Applying oxidative labelling of native methionine/cysteine residues, we previously validated a topological model for Escherichia coli WaaL, which differs substantially from the reported topology of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa WaaL, derived from the analysis of truncated protein reporter fusions. Here, we examined the topology of intact E. coli and P. aeruginosa WaaL proteins by labeling engineered cysteine residues with the membrane‐impermeable sulfhydryl reagent polyethylene glycol maleimide (PEG‐Mal). The accessibility of PEG‐Mal to targeted engineered cysteine residues in both E. coli and P. aeruginosa WaaL proteins demonstrates that both ligases share similar membrane topology. Further, we also demonstrate that P. aeruginosa WaaL shares similar functional properties with E. coli WaaL and that E. coli WaaL may adopt a functional dimer conformation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Early online date26 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 26 Jul 2018

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