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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Oct;50(2):659-71.

Pseudaminic acid, the major modification on Campylobacter flagellin, is synthesized via the Cj1293 gene.

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Enteric Diseases Department, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.


Flagellins from Campylobacter jejuni 81-176 and Campylobacter coli VC167 are heavily glycosylated. The major modifications on both flagellins are pseudaminic acid (Pse5Ac7Ac), a nine carbon sugar that is similar to sialic acid, and an acetamidino-substituted analogue of pseudaminic acid (PseAm). Previous data have indicated that PseAm is synthesized via Pse5Ac7Ac in C. jejuni 81-176, but that the two sugars are synthesized using independent pathways in C. coli VC167. The Cj1293 gene of C. jejuni encodes a putative UDP-GlcNAc C6-dehydratase/C4-reductase that is similar to a protein required for glycosylation of Caulobacter crescentus flagellin. The Cj1293 gene is expressed either under the control of a sigma 54 promoter that overlaps the coding region of Cj1292 or as a polycistronic message under the control of a sigma 70 promoter upstream of Cj1292. A mutant in gene Cj1293 in C. jejuni 81-176 was non-motile and non-flagellated and accumulated unglycosylated flagellin intracellularly. This mutant was complemented in trans with the homologous C. jejuni gene, as well as the Helicobacter pylori homologue, HP0840, which has been shown to encode a protein with UDP-GlcNAc C6-dehydratase/C4-reductase activity. Mutation of Cj1293 in C. coli VC167 resulted in a fully motile strain that synthesized a flagella filament composed of flagellin in which Pse5Ac7Ac was replaced by PseAm. The filament from the C. coli Cj1293 mutant displayed increased solubility in SDS compared with the wild-type filament. A double mutant in C. coli VC167, defective in both Cj1293 and ptmD, encoding part of the independent PseAm pathway, was also non-motile and non-flagellated and accumulated unglycosylated flagellin intracellularly. Collectively, the data indicate that Cj1293 is essential for Pse5Ac7Ac biosynthesis from UDP-GlcNAc, and that glycosylation is required for flagella biogenesis in campylobacters.

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