The cell wall polymers wall teichoic acid (WTA) and lipoteichoic acid (LTA) are often modified with glycosyl and D-alanine residues. Recent studies have shown that a three-component glycosylation system is used for the modification of LTA in several Gram-positive bacteria including Bacillus subtilis and Listeria monocytogenes. In the L. monocytogenes 1/2a strain 10403S, the cytoplasmic glycosyltransferase GtlA is thought to use UDP-galactose to produce the C55-P-galactose lipid intermediate, which is transported across the membrane by an unknown flippase. Next, the galactose residue is transferred onto the LTA backbone on the outside of the cell by the glycosyltransferase GtlB. Here we show that GtcA is necessary for the glycosylation of LTA in L. monocytogenes 10403S and B. subtilis 168 and we hypothesize that these proteins act as C55-P-sugar flippases. With this we revealed that GtcA is involved in the glycosylation of both teichoic acid polymers in L. monocytogenes 10403S, namely WTA with N-acetylglucosamine and LTA with galactose residues. These findings indicate that the L. monocytogenes GtcA protein can act on different C55-P-sugar intermediates. Further characterization of GtcA in L. monocytogenes led to the identification of residues essential for its overall function as well as residues, which predominately impact WTA or LTA glycosylation.
Keywords: Bactoprenol; Cell wall; Glycosylation; Gram-positive bacteria; Lipoteichoic acid; Wall teichoic acid.
© 2020 The Authors.