Actinobacteria have a protein O-glycosylation system that resembles eukaryotic protein O-mannosylation. Both M. tuberculosis and S. coelicolor have growth retarded phenotypes when protein-O-mannosyl transferase (Pmt), which transfers mannose from polyprenol phosphate mannose to a target protein, is absent. Moreover, S. coelicolor pmt- mutants are resistant to φC31 phage infection and have increased susceptibility to vancomycin and multiple b-lactams. S. coelicolor strains that lack polyprenol phosphate mannose synthase (Ppm1), which transfers mannose from GDP-mannose to polyprenol phosphate, are even more susceptible to antibiotics and a ppm1- mutant in M. tuberculosis is lethal. Pmt and Ppm1 are therefore possible new targets for the isolation of antimicrobials to be used against M. tuberculosis. Our aim is to further understand the structure and function of these enzymes. Sequence alignments and structural bioinformatics were used for S. coelicolor Ppm1 and Pmt to identify site-directed mutagenesis targets. Mutant alleles were introduced into ppm1- (DT3017) or pmt- (DT2008) S. coelicolor strains using conjugative integrative plasmids and scored for their ability to complement phage sensitivity and antibiotic hyper-susceptible phenotypes. Twenty-two highly conserved Pmt residues were each changed to alanine and six mutants failed to complement DT2008, indicating essentiality. Modelling these six residues indicated that five are positioned close to the predicted catalytic DE motif. For Ppm1, ten mutant alleles were tested and eight were essential for DT3017 complementation, with four residues positioned close to the predicted catalytic DXD motif. Whilst some of the mutations were predicted to impair catalytic activity, others may have affected localisation or substrate binding.

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