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J Bacteriol. 1999 May;181(9):2773-81.

Glycosyltransferase domain of penicillin-binding protein 2a from Streptococcus pneumoniae is membrane associated.

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Institut de Biologie Structurale Jean-Pierre Ebel (CEA/CNRS), 38027 Grenoble Cedex 1, France.


Penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) are bacterial cytoplasmic membrane proteins that catalyze the final steps of the peptidoglycan synthesis. Resistance to beta-lactams in Streptococcus pneumoniae is caused by low-affinity PBPs. S. pneumoniae PBP 2a belongs to the class A high-molecular-mass PBPs having both glycosyltransferase (GT) and transpeptide (TP) activities. Structural and functional studies of both domains are required to unravel the mechanisms of resistance, a prerequisite for the development of novel antibiotics. The extracellular region of S. pneumoniae PBP 2a has been expressed (PBP 2a*) in Escherichia coli as a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein. The acylation kinetic parameters of PBP 2a* for beta-lactams were determined by stopped-flow fluorometry. The acylation efficiency toward benzylpenicillin was much lower than that toward cefotaxime, a result suggesting that PBP 2a participates in resistance to cefotaxime and other beta-lactams, but not in resistance to benzylpenicillin. The TP domain was purified following limited proteolysis. PBP 2a* required detergents for solubility and interacted with lipid vesicles, while the TP domain was water soluble. We propose that PBP 2a* interacts with the cytoplasmic membrane in a region distinct from its transmembrane anchor region, which is located between Lys 78 and Ser 156 of the GT domain.

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