Functional relationships of the sialyltransferases involved in expression of the polysialic acid capsules of Escherichia coli K1 and K92 and Neisseria meningitidis groups B or C

The Journal of Biological Chemistry
S Steenbergen, Eric R Vimr


Polysialic acid (PSA) capsules are cell-associated homopolymers of alpha2,8-, alpha2,9-, or alternating alpha2,8/2,9-linked sialic acid residues that function as essential virulence factors in neuroinvasive diseases caused by certain strains of Escherichia coli and Neisseria meningitidis. PSA chains structurally identical to the bacterial alpha2,8-linked capsular polysaccharides are also synthesized by the mammalian central nervous system, where they regulate neuronal function in association with the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM). Despite the structural identity between bacterial and NCAM PSAs, the respective polysialyltransferases (polySTs) responsible for polymerizing sialyl residues from donor CMP-sialic acid are not homologous glycosyltransferases. To better define the mechanism of capsule biosynthesis, we established the functional interchangeability of bacterial polySTs by complementation of a polymerase-deficient E. coli K1 mutant with the polyST genes from groups B or C N. meningitidis and the control E. coli K92 polymerase gene. The biochemical and immunochemical results demonstrated that linkage specificity is dictated solely by the source of the polymerase structural gene. To determine the molecular basis for ...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Polysialic acid
Carbohydrate Sequence
Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Polysaccharides, Bacterial
Sialic Acids
Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
Determination, Sequence Homology
Bacterial Capsules

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