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Biochemistry. 2001 Apr 17;40(15):4745-55.

Tandem action of glycosyltransferases in the maturation of vancomycin and teicoplanin aglycones: novel glycopeptides.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The glycopeptides vancomycin and teicoplanin are clinically important antibiotics. The carbohydrate portions of these molecules affect biological activity, and there is great interest in developing efficient strategies to make carbohydrate derivatives. To this end, genes encoding four glycosyltransferases, GtfB, C, D, E, were subcloned from Amycolatopsis orientalis strains that produce chloroeremomycin (GtfB, C) or vancomycin (GtfD, E) into Escherichia coli. After expression and purification, each glycosyltransferase (Gtf) was characterized for activity either with the aglycones (GtfB, E) or the glucosylated derivatives (GtfC, D) of vancomycin and teicoplanin. GtfB efficiently glucosylates vancomycin aglycone using UDP-glucose as the glycosyl donor to form desvancosaminyl-vancomycin (vancomycin pseudoaglycone), with k(cat) of 17 min(-1), but has very low glucosylation activity, < or = 0.3 min(-1), for an alternate substrate, teicoplanin aglycone. In contrast, GtfE is much more efficient at glucosylating both its natural substrate, vancomycin aglycone (k(cat) = 60 min(-1)), and an unnatural substrate, teicoplanin aglycone (k(cat) = 20 min(-1)). To test the addition of the 4-epi-vancosamine moiety by GtfC and GtfD, synthesis of UDP-beta-L-4-epi-vancosamine was undertaken. This NDP-sugar served as a substrate for both GtfC and GtfD in the presence of vancomycin pseudoaglycone (GtfC and GtfD) or the glucosylated teicoplanin scaffold, 7 (GtfD). The GtfC product was the 4-epi-vancosaminyl form of vancomycin. Remarkably, GtfD was able to utilize both an unnatural acceptor, 7, and an unnatural nucleotide sugar donor, UDP-4-epi-vancosamine, to synthesize a novel hybrid teicoplanin/vancomycin glycopeptide. These results establish the enzymatic activity of these four Gtfs, begin to probe substrate specificity, and illustrate how they can be utilized to make variant sugar forms of both the vancomycin and the teicoplanin class of glycopeptide antibiotics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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