The biosynthesis of the linkage region between peptidoglycan and the ribitol teichoic acid was investigated in the bacteriophage-resistant, teichoic acid-less mutant Staphylococcus aureus 52A5 (Chatterjee et al., J. Bacteriol. 100:846--853, 1969). Membrane preparations of this strain were found to be incapable of forming the first intermediate of the biosynthetic pathway, namely, the transfer of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (GlcNAc) from UDP-GlcNAc to the acceptor molecule, which presumbably is undecaprenol phosphate (R. Bracha and L. Glaser, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 72:1091--1098, 1976). The addition of heat-inactivated membrane preparations of S. aureus 52A2 (which normally has ribitol teichoic acid) that had been preincubated with UDP-GlcNAc to membranes of strain 52A5 enabled the synthesis of teichoic acid. These data suggest that the mutational defect in the teichoic acid-less organism is in the synthesis of the first compound of the linkage unit, and this is apparently the reason for its absence in the cell walls
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