Post-assembly modification of Bordetella bronchiseptica O polysaccharide by a novel periplasmic enzyme encoded by wbmE

Jerry D King, Evgeny Vinogradov, Andrew Preston, Jianjun Li, Duncan J Maskell

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Bordetella bronchiseptica is a pathogen of humans and animals that colonizes the respiratory tract. It produces a lipopolysaccharide O antigen that contains a homopolymer of 2,3-dideoxy-2,3-diacetamido-L-galacturonic acid (L-GalNAc3NAcA). Some of these sugars are found in the uronamide form (L-GalNAc3NAcAN), and there is no discernible pattern in the distribution of amides along the chain. A B. bronchiseptica wbmE mutant expresses an O polysaccharide unusually rich in uronamides. The WbmE protein localizes to the periplasm and catalyzes the deamidation of uronamide-rich O chains in lipopolysaccharide purified from the mutant, to attain a wild-type uronamide/uronic acid ratio. WbmE is a member of the papain-like transglutaminase superfamily, and this categorization is consistent with a deamidase role. The periplasmic location of WbmE and its acceptance of complete lipopolysaccharide as substrate indicate that it operates at a late stage in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis, after polymerization and export of the O chain from the cytoplasm. This is the first report of such a modification of O antigen after assembly. The expression of wbmE is controlled by the Bordetella virulence gene two-component regulatory system, BvgAS, suggesting that this deamidation is a novel mechanism by which these bacteria modify their cell surface charge in response to environmental stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1474-1483
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
Early online date17 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2009

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