Diverse functions for six glycosyltransferases in caulobacter crescentus cell wall assembly

Anastasiya A. Yakhnina, Zemer Gitai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The essential process of peptidoglycan synthesis requires two enzymatic activities, transpeptidation and transglycosylation. While the PBP2 and PBP3 transpeptidases perform highly specialized functions that are widely conserved, the specific roles of different glycosyltransferases are poorly understood. For example, Caulobacter crescentus encodes six glycosyltransferase paralogs of largely unknown function. Using genetic analyses, we found that Caulobacter glycosyltransferases are primarily redundant but that PbpX is responsible for most of the essential glycosyltransferase activity. Cells containing PbpX as their sole glycosyltransferase are viable, and the loss of pbpX leads to a general defect in the integrity of the cell wall structure even in the presence of the other five glycosyltransferases. However, neither PbpX nor any of its paralogs is required for the specific processes of cell elongation or division, while the cell wall synthesis required for stalk biogenesis is only partially disrupted in several of the glycosyltransferase mutants. Despite their genetic redundancy, Caulobacter glycosyltransferases exhibit different subcellular localizations. We suggest that these enzymes have specialized roles and normally function in distinct subcomplexes but retain the ability to substitute for one another so as to ensure the robustness of the peptidoglycan synthesis process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4527-4535
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


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