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Evidence that Biosynthesis of the Second and Third Sugars of the Archaellin Tetrasaccharide in the Archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis Occurs by the Same Pathway Used by Pseudomonas aeruginosa To Make a Di-N-Acetylated Sugar

Siu, Sarah, Robotham, Anna, Logan, Susan M., Kelly, John F., Uchida, Kaoru, Aizawa, Shin-Ichi, Jarrell, Ken F.
Journal of bacteriology 2015 v.197 no.9 pp. 1668-1680
Methanococcus maripaludis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Western blotting, antigens, appendages, biosynthesis, enzymes, fimbriae, glycoproteins, mass spectrometry, mutants, operon, post-translational modification, sugars, transcription (genetics), uridine diphosphate
Methanococcus maripaludis has two surface appendages, archaella and type IV pili, which are composed of glycoprotein subunits. Archaellins are modified with an N-linked tetrasaccharide with the structure Sug-1,4-β-ManNAc3NAmA6Thr-1,4-β-GlcNAc3NAcA-1,3-β-GalNAc, where Sug is (5S)-2-acetamido-2,4-dideoxy-5- O -methyl-α- l -erythro-hexos-5-ulo-1,5-pyranose. The pilin glycan has an additional hexose attached to GalNAc. In this study, genes located in two adjacent, divergently transcribed operons (mmp0350-mmp0354 and mmp0359-mmp0355) were targeted for study based on annotations suggesting their involvement in biosynthesis of N-glycan sugars. Mutants carrying deletions in mmp0350 , mmp0351 , mmp0352 , or mmp0353 were nonarchaellated and synthesized archaellins modified with a 1-sugar glycan, as estimated from Western blots. Mass spectroscopy analysis of pili purified from the Δ mmp0352 strain confirmed a glycan with only GalNAc, suggesting mmp0350 to mmp0353 were all involved in biosynthesis of the second sugar (GlcNAc3NAcA). The Δ mmp0357 mutant was archaellated and had archaellins with a 2-sugar glycan, as confirmed by mass spectroscopy of purified archaella, indicating a role for MMP0357 in biosynthesis of the third sugar (ManNAc3NAmA6Thr). M. maripaludis mmp0350 , mmp0351 , mmp0352 , mmp0353 , and mmp0357 are proposed to be functionally equivalent to Pseudomonas aeruginosa wbpABEDI , involved in converting UDP- N -acetylglucosamine to UDP-2,3-diacetamido-2,3-dideoxy- d -mannuronic acid, an O5-specific antigen sugar. Cross-domain complementation of the final step of the P. aeruginosa pathway with mmp0357 supports this hypothesis. IMPORTANCE This work identifies a series of genes in adjacent operons that are shown to encode the enzymes that complete the entire pathway for generation of the second and third sugars of the N-linked tetrasaccharide that modifies archaellins of Methanococcus maripaludis . This posttranslational modification of archaellins is important, as it is necessary for archaellum assembly. Pilins are modified with a different N-glycan consisting of the archaellin tetrasaccharide but with an additional hexose attached to the linking sugar. Mass spectrometry analysis of the pili of one mutant strain provided insight into how this different glycan might ultimately be assembled. This study includes a rare example of an archaeal gene functionally replacing a bacterial gene in a complex sugar biosynthesis pathway.