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.
King, J. D., Vinogradov, E., Preston, A., Li, J., & Maskell, D. J. (2009). Post-assembly modification of Bordetella bronchiseptica O polysaccharide by a novel periplasmic enzyme encoded by wbmE. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(3), 1474-1483. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M807729200