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J Bacteriol. 1996 Feb;178(3):906-10.

Overexpression, purification, and characterization of UDP-N-acetylmuramyl:L-alanine ligase from Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, F. Hoffman-La Roche AG, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland.


UDP-N-acetylmuramyl:L-alanine ligase from Escherichia coli was overexpressed more than 600-fold and purified to near homogeneity. The purified enzyme was found to ligate L-alanine, L-serine, and glycine, as well as the nonnatural amino acid beta-chloro-L-alanine, to UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid. On the basis of (i) the specificity constants of the enzyme determined for L-alanine, L-serine, and glycine and (ii) the levels of these amino acids in the intracellular pool, it was calculated that the rates of incorporation of L-serine and glycine into peptidoglycan precursor metabolites could maximally amount to 0.1 and 0.5%, respectively, of the rate of L-alanine incorporation.

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