Biosynthesis of teichoic acids in Streptococcus pneumoniae and closely related species: lessons from genomes

Microb Drug Resist. 2012 Jun;18(3):344-58. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2012.0026. Epub 2012 Mar 20.


The cell wall of Streptococcus pneumoniae contains an unusually complex wall teichoic acid (WTA), which has identical repeating units as the membrane-anchored lipoteichoic acid (LTA). Both polymers share a common cytoplasmic pathway of precursor synthesis, but several TA enzymes have remained elusive. Bioinformatic analysis of the genome of various pneumococcal strains, including choline-independent mutant strains, has allowed us to identify the missing TA genes. We present here the deduced complete pathways of WTA and LTA synthesis in S. pneumoniae and point to the variations occurring in different pneumococcal strains and in closely related species such as Streptococcus oralis and Streptococcus mitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Choline / pharmacology
  • Computational Biology
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Genomics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Streptococcus mitis / genetics*
  • Streptococcus mitis / metabolism
  • Streptococcus oralis / genetics*
  • Streptococcus oralis / metabolism
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / genetics*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / metabolism
  • Teichoic Acids / biosynthesis*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Teichoic Acids
  • Choline