Submitted to: Glycobiology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2005
Publication Date: 4/20/2005
Citation: Price, N.P., Momany, F.A. 2005. Modeling bacterial UDP-HexNAc:polyprenol-P HexNAc-1-P transferases. Glycobiology. 15(9):29R-42R.
Technical Abstract: Protein N-glycosylation in eukaryotes and peptidoglycan biosynthesis in bacteria are both initiated by the transfer of a D-N-acetylhexosamine 1-phosphate to a membrane-bound polyprenol phosphate. These reactions are catalyzed by a family of transmembrane proteins known as the UDP-D-N-acetylhexosamine: polyprenol phosphate D-N-acetylhexosamine 1-phosphate transferases. The sole eukaryotic member of this family, the D-N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate transferase (GPT), is specific for UDP-GlcNAc as the donor substrate and uses dolichol phosphate as the membrane-bound acceptor. The bacterial translocases, MraY, WecA, and WbpL, utilize undecaprenol phosphate as the acceptor substrate, but differ in their specificity for the UDP-sugar donor substrate. The structural basis of this sugar nucleotide specificity is uncertain. However, potential carbohydrate recognition domains have been identified within the C-terminal cytoplasmic loops of MraY, WecA, and WbpL that are highly conserved in family members with the same UDP-N-acetylhexosamine specificity. This review focuses on the catalytic mechanism and substrate specificity of these bacterial UDP-D-N-acetylhexosamine: polyprenol phosphate D-N-acetylhexosamine 1-P transferases and may provide insights for the development of selective inhibitors of cell wall biosynthesis.