The bacA gene of Escherichia coli encodes an undecaprenyl pyrophosphate phosphatase activity

  • El Ghachi M
  • Bouhss A
  • Blanot D
 et al. 
  • 73


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 101


    Citations of this article.


The bacA gene, the overexpression of which results in bacitracin resistance, was inactivated and shown to be non-essential for growth of Escherichia coli. It was proposed earlier that the bacA gene product may confer resistance to the antibiotic by phosphorylation of undecaprenol (Cain, B. D., Norton, P. J., Eubanks, W., Nick, H. S., and Allen, C. M. (1983) J. Bacteriol. 175, 3784-3789). In the present work, this extremely hydrophobic membrane protein was overproduced and purified to near homogeneity. The analysis of its catalytic properties clearly demonstrated that the purified BacA protein exhibited undecaprenyl pyrophosphate phosphatase activity but not undecaprenol phosphokinase activity. This finding was perfectly consistent with the mechanism of action of bacitracin that consists in the sequestration of undecaprenyl pyrophosphate, the BacA enzyme substrate. The level of undecaprenyl pyrophosphate phosphatase was increased by 280-fold in cells carrying bacA on a multicopy expression plasmid. It was decreased by approximately 75% but was not completely abolished in a bacA disruption mutant, suggesting that BacA is the main E. coli undecaprenyl pyrophosphate phosphatase but that other protein(s) exhibiting such an activity should exist to account for the residual activity and viability of the mutant strain. This is the first gene encoding undecaprenyl pyrophosphate phosphatase identified to date. Considering its newly identified function, we propose to rename the bacA gene uppP.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Meriem El Ghachi

  • Ahmed Bouhss

  • Didier Blanot

  • Dominique Mengin-Lecreulx

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free