The ppm Operon Is Essential for Acylation and Glycosylation of Lipoproteins in Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Due to their contribution to bacterial virulence, lipoproteins and members of the lipoprotein biogenesis pathway represent potent drug targets. Following translocation across the inner membrane, lipoprotein precursors are acylated by lipoprotein diacylglycerol transferase (Lgt), cleaved off their signal peptides by lipoprotein signal peptidase (Lsp) and, in Gram-negative bacteria, further triacylated by lipoprotein N-acyl transferase (Lnt). The existence of an active apolipoprotein N-acyltransferase (Ms-Ppm2) involved in the N-acylation of LppX was recently reported in M. smegmatis. Ms-Ppm2 is part of the ppm operon in which Ppm1, a polyprenol-monophosphomannose synthase, has been shown to be essential in lipoglycans synthesis but whose function in lipoprotein biosynthesis is completely unknown. In order to clarify the role of the ppm operon in lipoprotein biosynthesis, we investigated the post-translational modifications of two model lipoproteins (AmyE and LppX) in C. glutamicum Δppm1 and Δppm2 mutants. Our results show that both proteins are anchored into the membrane and that their N-termini are N-acylated by Cg-Ppm2. The acylated N-terminal peptide of LppX was also found to be modified by hexose moieties. This O-glycosylation is localized in the N-terminal peptide of LppX and disappeared in the Δppm1 mutant. While compromised in the absence of Cg-Ppm2, LppX O-glycosylation could be restored when Cg-Ppm1, Cg-Ppm2 or the homologous Mt-Ppm1 of M. tuberculosis was overexpressed. Together, these results show for the first time that Cg-Ppm1 (Ppm synthase) and Cg-Ppm2 (Lnt) operate in a common biosynthetic pathway in which lipoprotein N-acylation and glycosylation are tightly coupled.