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Mol Microbiol. 2013 Feb;87(4):867-83. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12137. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

Distinct functions of polysaccharide deacetylases in cell shape, neutral polysaccharide synthesis and virulence of Bacillus anthracis.

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Department of Biology, Enzyme Biotechnology Group, University of Crete, PO Box 2208, Vasilika Vouton, 714 09, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.


Peptidoglycan deacetylases (PGNG-dacs) belong to the Carbohydrate Esterase Family 4 (CE4) and have been described as required for bacterial evasion to lysozyme and innate immune responses. Interestingly, there is an unusual occurrence of 10 putative polysaccharide deacetylases, including five PGNG-dacs, in the Bacillus sp. genomes, especially B. cereus and B. anthracis. To elucidate the physiological role of these multiple deacetylases, we employed genetic analysis and protein localization studies of five putative PGNG-dacs from B. anthracis as well as biochemical analysis of their corresponding homologues from B. cereus. Our data confirm that three enzymes are PGNG-dacs. While BA1977, associated with lateral peptidoglycan synthesis, is a bona fide peptidoglycan deacetylase involved in resistance to host lysozyme and required for full virulence, BA1961 and BA3679 participate in the biogenesis of the peptidoglycan during both elongation and cell division. Furthermore, two enzymes are important for neutral polysaccharide attachment to PG and consequently anchoring of S-layer proteins (BA5436) and for polysaccharide modification (BA2944). Our results provide novel and fundamental insights into the function of polysaccharide deacetylases in a major bioterrorism agent.

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