N-acetyl glucosamine-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GlmU) is a bifunctional enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of Uridine diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc). UDP-GlcNAc is a critical precursor for the synthesis of peptidoglycan and other cell wall components. The absence of a homolog in eukaryotes makes GlmU an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. Mycobacterium tuberculosis GlmU (GlmUMt) has features, such as a C-terminal extension, that are not present in GlmUorthologs from other bacteria. Here, we set out to determine the uniqueness of GlmUMt by performing in vivo complementation experiments using RvΔglmU mutant. We found that any deletion of the carboxy-terminal extension region of GlmUMt abolishes its ability to complement the function of GlmUMt. Results show orthologs of GlmU, including its closest ortholog, from Mycobacterium smegmatis, cannot complement the function of GlmUMt. Furthermore, the co-expression of GlmUMt domain deletion mutants with either acetyl or uridyltransferase activities failed to rescue the function. However, co-expression of GlmUMt point mutants with either acetyl or uridyltransferase activities successfully restored the biological function of GlmUMt, likely due to the formation of heterotrimers. Based on the interactome experiments, we speculate that GlmUMt participates in unique interactions essential for its in vivo function.

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