D-[alpha-14C]]glucosyl phosphorylpolyprenol ([ 14C]Glc-P-prenol) was formed from UDP-D-[14C]glucose in each of the membrane systems obtained from Bacillus coagulans AHU 1631 and AHU 1634 and two Bacillus megaterium strains. Membranes of these B. coagulans strains, which possess beta-D-glucosyl branches on the repeating units in their major cell wall teichoic acids, were shown to catalyze the transfer of the glucose residue from [14C]Glc-P-prenol to endogenous polymer. On the other hand, membranes of B. coagulans AHU 1366, which has no glucose substituents in the cell wall teichoic acid, exhibited neither [14C]Glc-P-prenol synthetase activity nor the activity of transferring glucose from [14C]Glc-P-prenol to endogenous acceptor. The enzyme which catalyzes the polymer glycosylation in the former two B. coagulans strains was most active at pH 5.5 and in the presence of the Mg2+ ion. The apparent Km for [14C]Glc-P-prenol was 0.6 microM. Hydrogen fluoride hydrolysis of the [14C]glucose-linked polymer product yielded a major fragment identical to D-galactosyl-alpha(1----2)(D-glucosyl-beta(1----1/3)) glycerol, the dephosphorylated repeating unit in the major cell wall teichoic acids of these B. coagulans strains. This result, together with the behavior of the radioactive polymer in chromatography on Sepharose CL-6B, DEAE-Sephacel, and Octyl-Sepharose CL-4B, led to the conclusion that [14C]Glc-P-prenol serves as an intermediate in the formation of beta-D-glucosyl branches on the polymer chains of cell wall teichoic acids in B. coagulans
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