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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 13;8(6):e66458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066458. Print 2013.

Biochemical characterization of UDP-N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanyl-D-glutamate: meso-2,6-diaminopimelate ligase (MurE) from Verrucomicrobium spinosum DSM 4136(T.).

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The Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, United States of America.


Verrucomicrobium spinosum is a Gram-negative bacterium that is related to bacteria from the genus Chlamydia. The bacterium is pathogenic towards Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans, using a type III secretion system to facilitate pathogenicity. V. spinosum employs the recently discovered l,l-diaminopimelate aminotransferase biosynthetic pathway to generate the bacterial cell wall and protein precursors diaminopimelate and lysine. A survey of the V. spinosum genome provides evidence that the bacterium should be able to synthesize peptidoglycan de novo, since all of the necessary genes are present. The enzyme UDP-N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanyl-d-glutamate: meso-2,6-diaminopimelate ligase (MurE) (E.C. catalyzes a reaction in the cytoplasmic step of peptidoglycan biosynthesis by adding the third amino acid residue to the peptide stem. The murE ortholog from V. spinosum (murE Vs) was cloned and was shown to possess UDP-MurNAc-l-Ala-d-Glu:meso-2,6-diaminopimelate ligase activity in vivo using functional complementation. In vitro analysis using the purified recombinant enzyme demonstrated that MurEVs has a pH optimum of 9.6 and a magnesium optimum of 30 mM. meso-Diaminopimelate was the preferred substrate with a K m of 17 µM, when compared to other substrates that are structurally related. Sequence alignment and structural analysis using homology modeling suggest that key residues that make up the active site of the enzyme are conserved in MurEVs. Our kinetic analysis and structural model of MurEVs is consistent with other MurE enzymes from Gram-negative bacteria that have been characterized. To verify that V. spinosum incorporates diaminopimelate into its cell wall, we purified peptidoglycan from a V. spinosum culture; analysis revealed the presence of diaminopimelate, consistent with that of a bona fide peptidoglycan from Gram-negative bacteria.

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