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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Sep 8;347(4):904-8. Epub 2006 Jul 25.

Pilin glycosylation in Neisseria meningitidis occurs by a similar pathway to wzy-dependent O-antigen biosynthesis in Escherichia coli.

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School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.


Pili (type IV fimbriae) of Neisseria meningitidis are glycosylated by the addition of O-linked sugars. Recent work has shown that PglF, a protein with homology to O-antigen 'flippases', is required for the biosynthesis of the pilin-linked glycan and suggests pilin glycosylation occurs in a manner analogous to the wzy-dependent addition of O-antigen to the core-LPS. O-Antigen ligases are crucial in this pathway for the transfer of undecraprenol-linked sugars to the LPS-core in Gram-negative bacteria. An O-antigen ligase homologue, pglL, was identified in N. meningitidis. PglL mutants showed no change in LPS phenotypes but did show loss of pilin glycosylation, confirming PglL is essential for pilin O-linked glycosylation in N. meningitidis.

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