A revised pathway proposed for Staphylococcus aureus wall teichoic acid biosynthesis based on in vitro reconstitution of the intracellular steps

Chem Biol. 2008 Jan;15(1):12-21. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2007.11.011.


Resistance to every family of clinically used antibiotics has emerged, and there is a pressing need to explore unique antibacterial targets. Wall teichoic acids (WTAs) are anionic polymers that coat the cell walls of many Gram-positive bacteria. Because WTAs play an essential role in Staphylococcus aureus colonization and infection, the enzymes involved in WTA biosynthesis are proposed to be targets for antibiotic development. To facilitate the discovery of WTA inhibitors, we have reconstituted the intracellular steps of S. aureus WTA biosynthesis. We show that two intracellular steps in the biosynthetic pathway are different from what was proposed. The work reported here lays the foundation for the discovery and characterization of inhibitors of WTA biosynthetic enzymes to assess their potential for treating bacterial infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Wall / drug effects*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Electrophoresis
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / pathology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism
  • Teichoic Acids / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Teichoic Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Teichoic Acids / chemistry
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Teichoic Acids