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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Aug;297(2):196-202. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01673.x. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Contribution of phosphoglucosamine mutase to the resistance of Streptococcus gordonii DL1 to polymorphonuclear leukocyte killing.


Phosphoglucosamine mutase (GlmM; EC catalyzes the interconversion of glucosamine-6-phosphate to glucosamine-1-phosphate, an essential step in the biosynthetic pathway leading to the formation of the peptidoglycan precursor uridine 5'-diphospho-N-acetylglucosamine. We have recently identified the gene (glmM) encoding the enzyme of Streptococcus gordonii, an early colonizer on the human tooth and an important cause of infective endocarditis, and indicated that the glmM mutation in S. gordonii appears to influence bacterial cell growth, morphology, and sensitivity to penicillins. In the present study, we assessed whether the glmM mutation also affects escape from polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN)-dependent killing. Although no differences in attachment to human PMNs were observed between the glmM mutant and the wild-type S. gordonii, the glmM mutation resulted in increased sensitivity to PMN-dependent killing. Compared with the wild type, the glmM mutant induced increased superoxide anion production and lysozyme release by PMNs. Moreover, the glmM mutant is more sensitive to lysozyme, indicating that the GlmM may be required for synthesis of firm peptidoglycans for resistance to bacterial cell lysis. These findings suggest that the GlmM contributes to the resistance of S. gordonii to PMN-dependent killing. Enzymes such as GlmM could be novel drug targets for this organism.

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