We found in the Escherichia coli genome sequence a homologue of RER2, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene required for proper localization of an endoplasmic reticulum protein, and designated it rth (RER2 homologue). The disruption of this gene was lethal for E. coli. To reveal its biological function, we isolated temperature-sensitive mutants of the rth gene. The mutant cells became swollen and burst at the nonpermissive temperature, indicating that their cell wall integrity was defective. Further analysis showed that the mutant cells were deficient in the activity of cis- prenyltransferase, namely, undecaprenyl diphosphate synthase, a key enzyme of the carrier lipid formation of peptidoglycan synthesis. The cellular level of undecaprenyl phosphate was in fact markedly decreased in the mutants. These results are consistent with the fact that the Rer2 homologue of Micrococcus luteus shows undecaprenyl diphosphate synthase activity (N. Shimizu, T. Koyama, and K. Ogura, J. Biol. Chem. 273:19476-19481, 1998) and demonstrate that E. coli Rth is indeed responsible for the maintenance of cell wall rigidity. Our work on the yeast rer2 mutants shows that they are defective in the activity of cis-prenyltransferase, namely, dehydrodolichyl diphosphate synthase, a key enzyme of dolichol synthesis. Taking these data together, we conclude that the RER2 gene family encodes cis-prenyltransferase, which plays an essential role in cell wall biosynthesis in bacteria and in dolichol synthesis in eukaryotic cells and has been well conserved during evolution.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Bacteriology|
|State||Published - May 1 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology