Cell wall sorting signals in surface proteins of gram-positive bacteria

EMBO J. 1993 Dec;12(12):4803-11.


Staphylococcal protein A is anchored to the cell wall, a unique cellular compartment of Gram-positive bacteria. The sorting signal sufficient for cell wall anchoring consists of an LPXTG motif, a C-terminal hydrophobic domain and a charged tail. Homologous sequences are found in many surface proteins of Gram-positive bacteria and we explored the universality of these sequences to serve as cell wall sorting signals. We show that several signals are able to anchor fusion proteins to the staphylococcal cell wall. Some signals do not sort effectively, but acquire sorting activity once the spacing between the LPXTG motif and the charged tail has been increased to span the same length as in protein A. Thus, signals for cell wall anchoring in Gram-positive bacteria are as universal as signal (leader) sequences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Enterotoxins / metabolism
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / metabolism*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Enterotoxins
  • Staphylococcal Protein A