The increasing prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria is driving efforts in the development of new antibacterial agents. This includes a resurgence of interest in the Gram-negative bacteria lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis enzymes as drug targets. The six carbon acidic sugar 2-keto-3-deoxymanno-octulosonic acid (Kdo) is a component of the lipid A moiety of the LPS in Gram-negative bacteria. In most cases the lipid A substituted by Kdo is the minimum requirement for cell growth, thus presenting the possibility of targeting either the synthesis or incorporation of Kdo for the development of antibacterial agents. Indeed, potent in vitro inhibitors of Kdo biosynthesis enzymes have been reported but have so far failed to show sufficient in vivo action against Gram-negative bacteria. As part of an effort to design more potent antibacterial agents targeting Kdo biosynthesis, the crystal structures of the key Kdo biosynthesis enzymes from Escherichia coli have been solved and their structure based mechanisms characterized. In eukaryotes, Kdo is found as a component of the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II in the plant primary cell wall. Interestingly, despite incorporating Kdo into very different macromolecules the Kdo biosynthesis and activation pathway is almost completely conserved between plants and bacteria. This raises the possibility for plant research to exploit the increasingly detailed knowledge and resources being generated by the microbiology community. Likewise, insights into Kdo biosynthesis in plants will be potentially useful in efforts to produce new antimicrobial compounds.
Keywords: 2-Keto-3-deoxymanno-octulosonic acid; 2-keto-3-deoxymanno-octulosonic acid; 3-deoxy-d-lyxo-2-heptulosaric acid; A5P; CMP-Kdo synthase; CMP-Kdo synthetase; Dha; Kdo; Kdo-8-P phosphatase; Kdo-8-P synthase; KdsA; KdsB; KdsC; KdsD; LPS; Lipid A; Lipopolysaccharide; Rhamnogalacturonan II; arabinose-5-P; isomerase; lipopolysaccharide.
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