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Science. 1997 May 30;276(5317):1420-2.

Role of the major antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in cell wall biogenesis.

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Department of Microbiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


The dominant exported proteins and protective antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are a triad of related gene products called the antigen 85 (Ag85) complex. Each has also been implicated in disease pathogenesis through its fibronectin-binding capacities. A carboxylesterase domain was found within the amino acid sequences of Ag85A, B, and C, and each protein acted as a mycolyltransferase involved in the final stages of mycobacterial cell wall assembly, as shown by direct enzyme assay and site-directed mutagenesis. Furthermore, the use of an antagonist (6-azido-6-deoxy-alpha, alpha'-trehalose) of this activity demonstrates that these proteins are essential and potential targets for new antimycobacterial drugs.

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