Bacterial glycobiology: rhamnose-containing cell wall polysaccharides in Gram-positive bacteria
The aim of this work was to identify genes in Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis IL1403 and Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris Wg2 important for adsorption of the 936-species phages bIL170 and phi 645, respectively. Random insertional mutagenesis of the two L. lactis strains was carried out with the vector pGh9:ISS1, and integrants that were resistant to phage infection and showed reduced phage adsorption were selected. In L. lactis IL1403 integration was obtained in the ycaG and rgpE genes, whereas in L. lactis Wg2 integration was obtained in two genes homologous to ycbC and ycbB of L. lactis IL1403. rgpE and ycbB encode putative glycosyltransferases, whereas ycaG and ycbC encode putative membrane-spanning proteins with unknown functions. Interestingly, ycaG, rgpE, ycbC, and ycbB are all part of the same operon in L. lactis IL1403. This operon is probably involved in biosynthesis and transport of cell wall polysaccharides (WPS). Binding and infection studies showed that phi645 binds to and infects L. lactis Wg2, L. lactis IL1403, and L. lactis IL1403 strains with pGh9:ISS1 integration in ycaG and rgpE, whereas bIL170 binds to and infects only L. lactis IL1403 and cannot infect Wg2. These results indicate that phi 645 binds to a WPS structure present in both L. lactis IL1403 and L. lactis Wg2, whereas bIL170 binds to another WPS structure not present in L. lactis Wg2. Binding of bIL170 and phi 645 to different WPS structures was supported by alignment of the receptor-binding proteins of bIL170 and phi 645 that showed no homology in the C-terminal part.