Total Chemical Synthesis of the Enzyme Sortase AΔN59 with Full Catalytic Activity


  • Work on sortase A in the laboratory of O.S. is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (AI038897).


The enzyme sortase A is a ligase which catalyzes transpeptidation reactions.1, 2 Surface proteins, including virulence factors, that have a C terminal recognition sequence are attached to Gly5 on the peptidoglycan of bacterial cell walls by sortase A.1 The enzyme is an important anti-virulence and anti-infective drug target for resistant strains of Gram-positive bacteria.2 In addition, because sortase A enables the splicing of polypeptide chains, the transpeptidation reaction catalyzed by sortase A is a potentially valuable tool for protein science.3 Here we describe the total chemical synthesis of enzymatically active sortase A. The target 148 residue polypeptide chain of sortase AΔN59 was synthesized by the convergent chemical ligation of four unprotected synthetic peptide segments. The folded protein molecule was isolated by size-exclusion chromatography and had full enzymatic activity in a transpeptidation assay. Total synthesis of sortase A will enable more sophisticated engineering of this important enzyme molecule.