Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 2010 Sep 3;401(5):757-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.06.059. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Bacillus anthracis surface-layer proteins assemble by binding to the secondary cell wall polysaccharide in a manner that requires csaB and tagO.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Chicago, 920 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, requires surface (S)-layer proteins for the pathogenesis of infection. Previous work characterized S-layer protein binding via the surface layer homology domain to a pyruvylated carbohydrate in the envelope of vegetative forms. The molecular identity of this carbohydrate and the mechanism of its display in the bacterial envelope are still unknown. Analyzing acid-solubilized, purified carbohydrates by mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy, we identify secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP) as the ligand of S-layer proteins. In agreement with the model that surface layer homology domains bind to pyruvylated carbohydrate, SCWP was observed to be linked to pyruvate in a manner requiring csaB, the only structural gene known to be required for S-layer assembly. B. anthracis does not elaborate wall teichoic acids; however, its genome harbors tagO and tagA, genes responsible for the synthesis of the linkage unit that tethers teichoic acids to the peptidoglycan layer. The tagO gene appears essential for B. anthracis growth and complements the tagO mutant phenotypes of staphylococci. Tunicamycin-mediated inhibition of TagO resulted in deformed, S-layer-deficient bacilli. Together, these results suggest that tagO-mediated assembly of linkage units tethers pyruvylated SCWP to the B. anthracis envelope, thereby enabling S-layer assembly and providing for the pathogenesis of anthrax infections.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center