The biology of Gram-positive sortase enzymes

Trends Microbiol. 2004 Feb;12(2):89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2003.12.007.


Surface proteins of Gram-positive pathogens play various key roles in pathogenicity. Therefore, these proteins are of great interest in terms of understanding the infection process and have potential as targets for therapy. A major mechanism for the surface display of proteins by Gram-positive bacteria is sortase-mediated covalent attachment to the cell wall. The importance of sortase enzymes in the virulence of several pathogens is now becoming apparent, as are some of the more detailed workings of the enzyme and anchoring pathway. These recent advances are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology
  • Aminoacyltransferases / chemistry
  • Aminoacyltransferases / genetics*
  • Aminoacyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / physiology
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Aminoacyltransferases
  • sortase A
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases