• Open Access

Lipoarabinomannan biosynthesis in Corynebacterineae: the interplay of two α(1→2)-mannopyranosyltransferases MptC and MptD in mannan branching


E-mail g.besra@bham.ac.uk; Tel. (+44) (0)121 415 8125; Fax (+44) (0)121 414 5925.


Lipomannan (LM) and lipoarabinomannan (LAM) are key Corynebacterineae glycoconjugates that are integral components of the mycobacterial cell wall, and are potent immunomodulators during infection. LAM is a complex heteropolysaccharide synthesized by an array of essential glycosyltransferase family C (GT-C) members, which represent potential drug targets. Herein, we have identified and characterized two open reading frames from Corynebacterium glutamicum that encode for putative GT-Cs. Deletion of NCgl2100 and NCgl2097 in C. glutamicum demonstrated their role in the biosynthesis of the branching α(1→2)-Manp residues found in LM and LAM. In addition, utilizing a chemically defined nonasaccharide acceptor, azidoethyl 6-O-benzyl-α-D-mannopyranosyl-(1→6)-[α-D-mannopyranosyl-(1→6)]7-D-mannopyranoside, and the glycosyl donor C50-polyprenol-phosphate-[14C]-mannose with membranes prepared from different C. glutamicum mutant strains, we have shown that both NCgl2100 and NCgl2097 encode for novel α(1→2)-mannopyranosyltransferases, which we have termed MptC and MptD respectively. Complementation studies and in vitro assays also identified Rv2181 as a homologue of Cg-MptC in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Finally, we investigated the ability of LM and LAM from C. glutamicum, and C. glutamicumΔmptC and C. glutamicumΔmptD mutants, to activate Toll-like receptor 2. Overall, our study enhances our understanding of complex lipoglycan biosynthesis in Corynebacterineae and sheds further light on the structural and functional relationship of these classes of polysaccharides.