Comamonas testosteronan synthase, a bifunctional glycosyltransferase that produces a unique heparosan polysaccharide analog

Otto, Nigel J.
Solakyildirim, Kemal
Linhardt, Robert J.
Deangelis, Paul L.
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Biology , Chemistry and chemical biology , Chemical and biological engineering , Biomedical engineering
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Comamonas testosteronan synthase, a bifunctional glycosyltransferase that produces a unique heparosan polysaccharide analog, N. J. Otto, K. Solakyildirim, R. J. Linhardt, P. L. DeAngelis, Glycobiology, 21, 1331–1340, 2011.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are linear hexosamine-containing polysaccharides. These polysaccharides are synthesized by some pathogenic bacteria to form an extracellular coating or capsule. This strategy forms the basis of molecular camouflage since vertebrates possess naturally occurring GAGs that are essential for life. A recent sequence database search identified a putative protein from the opportunistic pathogen Comamonas testosteroni that exhibits similarity with the Pasteurella multocida GAG synthase PmHS1, which is responsible for the synthesis of a heparosan polysaccharide capsule. Initial supportive evidence included glucuronic acid (GlcUA)-containing polysaccharides extracted from C. testosteroni KF-1. We describe here the cloning and analysis of a novel Comamonas GAG synthase, CtTS. The GAG produced by CtTS in vitro consists of the sugars d-GlcUA and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, but is insensitive to digestion by GAG digesting enzymes, thus has distinct glycosidic linkages from vertebrate GAGs. The backbone structure of the polysaccharide product [-4-D-GlcUA-α1,4-D-GlcNAc-α1-](n) was confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance. Therefore, this novel GAG, testosteronan, consists of the same sugars as the biomedically relevant GAGs heparosan (N-acetyl-heparosan) and hyaluronan but may have distinct properties useful for future medical applications.
Glycobiology, 21, 1331–1340
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