Structure and mechanism of biosynthesis of Streptococcus mutans cell wall polysaccharide.

Jeffrey S Rush, Svetlana Zamakhaeva, Nicholas R Murner, Pan Deng, Andrew J Morris, Cameron W Kenner, Ian Black, Christian Heiss, Parastoo Azadi, Konstantin V Korotkov, Göran Widmalm, Natalia Korotkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Streptococcus mutans, the causative agent of human dental caries, expresses a cell wall attached Serotype c- specific Carbohydrate (SCC) that is critical for cell viability. SCC consists of a repeating →3)α-Rha(1→2)α-Rha(1→ polyrhamnose backbone, with glucose (Glc) side-chains and glycerol phosphate (GroP) decorations. This study reveals that SCC has one major and two minor Glc modifications. The major Glc modification, α-Glc, attached to position 2 of 3-rhamnose, is installed by SccN and SccM glycosyltransferases and is the site of the GroP addition. The minor Glc modifications are β-Glc linked to position 4 of 3-rhamnose installed by SccP and SccQ glycosyltransferases, and α-Glc attached to position 4 of 2-rhamnose installed by SccN working in tandem with an unknown enzyme. Both the major and the minor β-Glc modifications control bacterial morphology, but only the GroP and major Glc modifications are critical for biofilm formation.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - May 9 2024


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