Garufi G, Hendrickx AP, Beeri K, Kern JW, Sharma A, Richter SG, Schneewind O, Missiakas D
Synthesis of Lipoteichoic Acids in Bacillus Anthracis.
Journal of Bacteriology. 2012 Aug 01; 194: 4312-21.
Lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a glycerol phosphate polymer, is a component of the envelope of Gram-positive bacteria that has hitherto not been identified in Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. LTA synthesis in Staphylococcus aureus and other microbes is catalyzed by the product of the ltaS gene, a membrane protein that polymerizes polyglycerol phosphate from phosphatidyl glycerol. Here we identified four ltaS homologues, designated ltaS1 to -4, in the genome of Bacillus anthracis. Polyglycerol phosphate-specific monoclonal antibodies were used to detect LTA in the envelope of B. anthracis strain Sterne (pXO1(+) pXO2(-)) vegetative forms. B. anthracis mutants lacking ltaS1, ltaS2, ltaS3, or ltaS4 did not display defects in growth or LTA synthesis. In contrast, B. anthracis strains lacking both ltaS1 and ltaS2 were unable to synthesize LTA and exhibited reduced viability, altered envelope morphology, aberrant separation of vegetative forms, and decreased sporulation efficiency. Expression of ltaS1 or ltaS2 alone in B. anthracis as well as in other microbes was sufficient for polyglycerol phosphate synthesis. Thus, similar to S. aureus, B. anthracis employs LtaS enzymes to synthesize LTA, an envelope component that promotes bacterial growth and cell division.