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Listeria monocytogenes GlmR Is an Accessory Uridyltransferase Essential for Cytosolic Survival and Virulence.

MBio 2023 March 21
The cytosol of eukaryotic host cells is an intrinsically hostile environment for bacteria. Understanding how cytosolic pathogens adapt to and survive in the cytosol is critical to developing novel therapeutic interventions against these pathogens. The cytosolic pathogen Listeria monocytogenes requires glmR (previously known as yvcK ), a gene of unknown function, for resistance to cell-wall stress, cytosolic survival, inflammasome avoidance, and, ultimately, virulence in vivo . In this study, a genetic suppressor screen revealed that blocking utilization of UDP N -acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) by a nonessential wall teichoic acid decoration pathway restored resistance to lysozyme and partially restored virulence of Δ glmR mutants. In parallel, metabolomic analysis revealed that Δ glmR mutants are impaired in the production of UDP-GlcNAc, an essential peptidoglycan and wall teichoic acid (WTA) precursor. We next demonstrated that purified GlmR can directly catalyze the synthesis of UDP-GlcNAc from GlcNAc-1P and UTP, suggesting that it is an accessory uridyltransferase. Biochemical analysis of GlmR orthologues suggests that uridyltransferase activity is conserved. Finally, mutational analysis resulting in a GlmR mutant with impaired catalytic activity demonstrated that uridyltransferase activity was essential to facilitate cell-wall stress responses and virulence in vivo . Taken together, these studies indicate that GlmR is an evolutionary conserved accessory uridyltransferase required for cytosolic survival and virulence of L. monocytogenes. IMPORTANCE Bacterial pathogens must adapt to their host environment in order to cause disease. The cytosolic bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes requires a highly conserved protein of unknown function, GlmR (previously known as YvcK), to survive in the host cytosol. GlmR is important for resistance to some cell-wall stresses and is essential for virulence. The Δ glmR mutant is deficient in production of an essential cell-wall metabolite, UDP-GlcNAc, and suppressors that increase metabolite levels also restore virulence. Purified GlmR can directly catalyze the synthesis of UDP-GlcNAc, and this enzymatic activity is conserved in both Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. These results highlight the importance of accessory cell wall metabolism enzymes in responding to cell-wall stress in a variety of Gram-positive bacteria.

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