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Keywords:

  • O antigen;
  • Wzx;
  • membrane topology

Abstract

The O-antigen translocase, Wzx, is involved in translocation of bacterial polysaccharide repeat units across the cytoplasmic membrane, and is an unusually diverse, highly hydrophobic protein, with high numbers of predicted α-helical transmembrane segments (TMS). The Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium Group B O-antigen Wzx was an ideal candidate for topological study as the O-antigen gene cluster is one of only a few that have been well characterized. The topology profile prediction for this protein was determined using five programs, with different recognition parameters, which consistently predict that 12 TMS are present. A membrane topology model was constructed by analysis of lacZ and phoA gene fusions at randomly selected and targeted fusion sites within wzx. Enzyme activity of these, and full-length C-terminal fusion proteins, confirmed the 12-TMS topology for this Wzx, and also indicated that the C-terminus was located within the cytoplasm, which is consistent with the predicted topology.