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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2003 Dec 5;229(1):83-9.

A method for the enzymatic synthesis and HPLC purification of the peptidoglycan precursor UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid (UDP-MurNAc) is a precursor for peptidoglycan biosynthesis in bacteria. A major difficulty in the study of this pathway is that UDP-MurNAc is not commercially available. We have developed an enzymatic synthesis scheme for UDP-MurNAc using two easily purified Escherichia coli polyhistidine tagged peptidoglycan biosynthesis enzymes, MurZ and MurB, followed by a single-step purification of UDP-MurNAc by high-performance liquid chromatography. The identity of the UDP-MurNAc synthesized by our method was confirmed by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Furthermore, we show that the UDP-MurNAc can support a UDP-MurNAc-L-alanine ligase reaction.

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