Author(s): Gilbert M, Brisson JR, Karwaski MF, Michniewicz J, Cunningham AM,
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Abstract We have applied two strategies for the cloning of four genes responsible for the biosynthesis of the GT1a ganglioside mimic in the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) of a bacterial pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni OH4384, which has been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome. We first cloned a gene encoding an alpha-2, 3-sialyltransferase (cst-I) using an activity screening strategy. We then used nucleotide sequence information from the recently completed sequence from C. jejuni NCTC 11168 to amplify a region involved in LOS biosynthesis from C. jejuni OH4384. The LOS biosynthesis locus from C. jejuni OH4384 is 11.47 kilobase pairs and encodes 13 partial or complete open reading frames, while the corresponding locus in C. jejuni NCTC 11168 spans 13.49 kilobase pairs and contains 15 open reading frames, indicating a different organization between these two strains. Potential glycosyltransferase genes were cloned individually, expressed in Escherichia coli, and assayed using synthetic fluorescent oligosaccharides as acceptors. We identified genes encoding a beta-1, 4-N-acetylgalactosaminyl-transferase (cgtA), a beta-1, 3-galactosyltransferase (cgtB), and a bifunctional sialyltransferase (cst-II), which transfers sialic acid to O-3 of galactose and to O-8 of a sialic acid that is linked alpha-2,3- to a galactose. The linkage specificity of each identified glycosyltransferase was confirmed by NMR analysis at 600 MHz on nanomole amounts of model compounds synthesized in vitro. Using a gradient inverse broadband nano-NMR probe, sequence information could be obtained by detection of (3)J(C,H) correlations across the glycosidic bond. The role of cgtA and cst-II in the synthesis of the GT1a mimic in C. jejuni OH4384 were confirmed by comparing their sequence and activity with corresponding homologues in two related C. jejuni strains that express shorter ganglioside mimics in their LOS.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics