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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jan 6;281(1):549-58. Epub 2005 Oct 28.

Cell wall-targeting domain of glycylglycine endopeptidase distinguishes among peptidoglycan cross-bridges.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA.


ALE-1, a homologue of lysostaphin, is a peptidoglycan hydrolase that specifically lyses Staphylococcus aureus cell walls by cleaving the pentaglycine linkage between the peptidoglycan chains. Binding of ALE-1 to S. aureus cells through its C-terminal 92 residues, known as the targeting domain, is functionally important for staphylolytic activity. The ALE-1-targeting domain belongs to the SH3b domain family, the prokaryotic counterpart of the eukaryotic SH3 domains. The 1.75 angstroms crystal structure of the targeting domain shows an all-beta fold similar to typical SH3s but with unique features. The structure reveals patches of conserved residues among orthologous targeting domains, forming surface regions that can potentially interact with some common features of the Gram-positive cell wall. ALE-1-targeting domain binding studies employing various bacterial peptidoglycans demonstrate that the length of the interpeptide bridge, as well as the amino acid composition of the peptide, confers the maximum binding of the targeting domain to the staphylococcal peptidoglycan. Truncation of the highly conserved first 9 N-terminal residues results in loss of specificity to S. aureus cell wall-targeting, suggesting that these residues confer specificity to S. aureus cell wall.

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