1887

Abstract

is a soil bacterium that fixes nitrogen after being established inside nodules that can form on the roots of several legumes, including . A mutation in an gene () required for lipopolysaccharide synthesis has been reported to result in defective nodulation and an increase in the synthesis of a xylose-containing glycan. Glycans containing xylose as well as arabinose are also formed by other rhizobial species, but little is known about their structures and the biosynthetic pathways leading to their formation. To gain insight into the biosynthesis of these glycans and their biological roles, we report the identification of an operon in 1021 that contains two genes encoding activities not previously described in bacteria. One gene encodes a UDP-xylose synthase (Uxs) that converts UDP-glucuronic acid to UDP-xylose, and the second encodes a UDP-xylose 4-epimerase (Uxe) that interconverts UDP-xylose and UDP-arabinose. Similar genes were also identified in other rhizobial species, including , suggesting that they have important roles in the life cycle of this agronomically important class of bacteria. Functional studies established that recombinant SmUxs1 is likely to be active as a dimer and is inhibited by NADH and UDP-arabinose. SmUxe is inhibited by UDP-galactose, even though this nucleotide sugar is not a substrate for the 4-epimerase. Unambiguous evidence for the conversions of UDP-glucuronic acid to UDP---xylose and then to UDP---arabinose (UDP-arabinopyranose) was obtained using real-time H-NMR spectroscopy. Our results provide new information about the ability of rhizobia to form UDP-xylose and UDP-arabinose, which are then used for the synthesis of xylose- and arabinose-containing glycans.

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2011-01-01
2019-10-21
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