[en] The peptidoglycan glycosyltransferase (GT) module of class A penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) and monofunctional GTs catalyze glycan chain elongation of the bacterial cell wall. These enzymes belong to the GT51 family, are characterized by five conserved motifs, and have some fold similarity with the phage lambda lysozyme. In this work, we have systematically modified all the conserved amino acid residues of the GT module of Escherichia coli class A PBP1b by site-directed mutagenesis and determined their importance for the in vivo and in vitro activity and the thermostability of the protein. To get an insight into the GT active site of this paradigm enzyme, a model of PBP1b GT domain was constructed based on the available crystal structures (PDB codes 2OLV and 2OLU). The data show that in addition to the essential glutamate residues Glu233 of motif 1 and Glu290 of motif 3, the residues Phe237 and His240 of motif 1 and Gly264, Thr267, Gln271, and Lys274 of motif 2, all located in the catalytic cavity of the GT domain, are essential for the in vitro enzymatic activity of the PBP1b and for its in vivo functioning. Thus, the first three conserved motifs contain most of the residues that are required for the GT activity of the PBP1b. The residues Asp234, Phe237, His240, Thr267, and Gln271 are proposed to maintain the structure of the active site and the positioning of the catalytic Glu233.
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