Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis, a disease that kills over 1 million people each year. Its cell envelope is a common antibiotic target and has a unique structure due, in part, to two lipidated polysaccharides-arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan. Arabinofuranosyltransferase D (AftD) is an essential enzyme involved in assembling these glycolipids. We present the 2.9-Å resolution structure of M. abscessus AftD, determined by single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. AftD has a conserved GT-C glycosyltransferase fold and three carbohydrate-binding modules. Glycan array analysis shows that AftD binds complex arabinose glycans. Additionally, AftD is non-covalently complexed with an acyl carrier protein (ACP). 3.4- and 3.5-Å structures of a mutant with impaired ACP binding reveal a conformational change, suggesting that ACP may regulate AftD function. Mutagenesis experiments using a conditional knockout constructed in M. smegmatis confirm the essentiality of the putative active site and the ACP binding for AftD function.
Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; acyl carrier protein; arabinofuranose; glycosyltransferase; lipoarabinomannan; lipomannan; membrane protein; nanodisc; single-particle cryo-electron microscopy.
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