Modifications of cell wall polymers in Gram-positive bacteria by multi-component transmembrane glycosylation systems

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2021 Apr:60:24-33. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2021.01.007. Epub 2021 Feb 9.


Secondary cell wall polymers fulfil diverse and important functions within the cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria. Here, we will provide a brief overview of the principles of teichoic acid and complex secondary cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis pathways in Firmicutes and summarize the recently revised mechanism for the decoration of teichoic acids with d-alanines. Many cell wall polymers are decorated with glycosyl groups, either intracellularly or extracellularly. The main focus of this review will be on the extracellular glycosylation mechanism and recent advances that have been made in the identification of enzymes involved in this process. Based on the proteins involved, we propose to rename the system to multi-component transmembrane glycosylation system in place of three-component glycosylation system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins* / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins* / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / metabolism
  • Polymers* / metabolism
  • Teichoic Acids / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Polymers
  • Teichoic Acids