Structure of the Bacillus anthracis dTDP-l-rhamnose-biosynthetic enzyme glucose-1-phosphate thymidylyltransferase (RfbA)

Jackson Baumgartner, Jesi Lee, Andrei S. Halavaty, George Minasov, Wayne F. Anderson, Misty L. Kuhn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


l-Rhamnose is a ubiquitous bacterial cell-wall component. The biosynthetic pathway for its precursor dTDP-l-rhamnose is not present in humans, which makes the enzymes of the pathway potential drug targets. In this study, the three-dimensional structure of the first protein of this pathway, glucose-1-phosphate thymidylyltransferase (RfbA), from Bacillus anthracis was determined. In other organisms this enzyme is referred to as RmlA. RfbA was co-crystallized with the products of the enzymatic reaction, dTDP-α-d-glucose and pyrophosphate, and its structure was determined at 2.3Å resolution. This is the first reported thymidylyltransferase structure from a Gram-positive bacterium. RfbA shares overall structural characteristics with known RmlA homologs. However, RfbA exhibits a shorter sequence at its C-terminus, which results in the absence of three α-helices involved in allosteric site formation. Consequently, RfbA was observed to exhibit a quaternary structure that is unique among currently reported glucose-1-phosphate thymidylyltransferase bacterial homologs. These structural analyses suggest that RfbA may not be allosterically regulated in some organisms and is structurally distinct from other RmlA homologs.The crystal structure of glucose-1-phosphate thymidylyltransferase (RfbA) from B. anthracis was determined at 2.3Å resolution in complex with the reaction products dTDP-α-d-glucose and pyrophosphate. RfbA is the first enzyme of the dTDP-l-rhamnose pathway and does not exhibit the structural features that form the allosteric site in its closest RmlA homologs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-628
Number of pages8
JournalActa Crystallographica Section F:Structural Biology Communications
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Anthrax
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • RfbA
  • glucose-1-phosphate thymidylyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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