Biosynthesis of membrane-derived oligosaccharides: a periplasmic phosphoglyceroltransferase

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1981 Sep;78(9):5513-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.78.9.5513.


Membrane-derived oligosaccharides (MDO) are glucose-containing constituents of the periplasmic space of Escherichia coli whose biosynthesis is closely linked to the metabolism of membrane phospholipids. A periplasmic enzyme has now been discovered that catalyzes the transfer of phosphoglycerol residues between species of MDO or to certain glucose-containing model substrates such as gentiobiose (6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-D-glucose). The partially purified enzyme has an apparent molecular weight of about 56,000 in gel permeation chromatography, and has an absolute requirement for divalent cations, of which Mn2+ is most active. Although the transferase activity appears to be the physiological function of the enzyme, at low concentrations of acceptor, the enzyme (Enz) acts as a cyclase, with the liberation of cyclic 1(3),2-phosphoglycerol, suggesting the following mechanism: (formula, see text).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cations, Divalent / metabolism
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Disaccharides / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure
  • Glycerophosphates / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Phosphotransferases / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)*


  • Cations, Divalent
  • Disaccharides
  • Glycerophosphates
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • glycerol 1,2 cyclic phosphate
  • Phosphotransferases
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)
  • phosphatidylglycerol - membrane-oligosaccharide glycerophosphotransferase
  • gentiobiose