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Biophys Rev. 2018 Apr;10(2):219-227. doi: 10.1007/s12551-017-0343-x. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

"Just a spoonful of sugar...": import of sialic acid across bacterial cell membranes.

Author information

1
Biomolecular Interaction Centre and School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, P.O. Box 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand.
2
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Structural Biology, University of Gothenburg, Box 462, 40530, Gothenburg, Sweden.
3
Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research (CARe) at University of Gothenburg, Box 440, 40530, Gothenburg, Sweden.
4
The Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (InStem), G.K.V.K. Post Office, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560065, India.
5
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Structural Biology, University of Gothenburg, Box 462, 40530, Gothenburg, Sweden. rosmarie.friemann@gu.se.
6
Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research (CARe) at University of Gothenburg, Box 440, 40530, Gothenburg, Sweden. rosmarie.friemann@gu.se.
7
Biomolecular Interaction Centre and School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, P.O. Box 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand. renwick.dobson@canterbury.ac.nz.
8
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 3010, Australia. renwick.dobson@canterbury.ac.nz.

Abstract

Eukaryotic cell surfaces are decorated with a complex array of glycoconjugates that are usually capped with sialic acids, a large family of over 50 structurally distinct nine-carbon amino sugars, the most common member of which is N-acetylneuraminic acid. Once made available through the action of neuraminidases, bacterial pathogens and commensals utilise host-derived sialic acid by degrading it for energy or repurposing the sialic acid onto their own cell surface to camouflage the bacterium from the immune system. A functional sialic acid transporter has been shown to be essential for the uptake of sialic acid in a range of human bacterial pathogens and important for host colonisation and persistence. Here, we review the state-of-play in the field with respect to the molecular mechanisms by which these bio-nanomachines transport sialic acids across bacterial cell membranes.

KEYWORDS:

ABC transporter; NanT; Porins; Sialic acid; Sodium solute symporters; TRAP transporter

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