Structural and Mechanistic Insight into the Listeria monocytogenes Two-Enzyme Lipoteichoic Acid Synthesis System [Microbiology]

August 15th, 2014 by Campeotto, I., Percy, M. G., MacDonald, J. T., Forster, A., Freemont, P. S., Grundling, A.

Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is an important cell wall component required for proper cell growth in many Gram-positive bacteria. In Listeria monocytogenes, two enzymes are required for the synthesis of this polyglycerolphosphate polymer. The LTA primase LtaPLm initiates LTA synthesis by transferring the first glycerolphosphate (GroP) subunit onto the glycolipid anchor and the LTA synthase LtaSLm extends the polymer by the repeated addition of GroP subunits to the tip of the growing chain. Here, we present the crystal structures of the enzymatic domains of LtaPLm and LtaSLm. While the enzymes share the same fold, substantial differences in the cavity of the catalytic site and surface charge distribution contribute to enzyme specialization. The eLtaSLm structure was also determined in complex with GroP revealing a second GroP binding site. Mutational analysis confirmed an essential function for this binding site and allowed us to propose a model for the binding of the growing chain.