NarE: a novel ADP-ribosyltransferase from Neisseria meningitidis

Author(s): Masignani V,Balducci E, Di Marcello F, Savino S, Serruto D, et al.


Mono ADP-ribosyltransferases (ADPRTs) are a class of functionally conserved enzymes present in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. In bacteria, these enzymes often act as potent toxins and play an important role in pathogenesis. Here we report a profile-based computational approach that, assisted by secondary structure predictions, has allowed the identification of a previously undiscovered ADP-ribosyltransferase in Neisseria meningitidis (NarE). NarE shows structural homologies with E. coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) and cholera toxin (CT) and possesses ADP-ribosylating and NAD-glycohydrolase activities. As in the case of LT and CT, NarE catalyses the transfer of the ADP-ribose moiety to arginine residues. Despite the absence of a signal peptide, the protein is efficiently exported into the periplasm of Neisseria. The narE gene is present in 25 out of 43 strains analysed, is always present in ET-5 and Lineage 3 but absent in ET-37 and Cluster A4 hypervirulent lineages. When present, the gene is 100% conserved in sequence and is inserted upstream of and co-transcribed with the lipoamide dehydrogenase E3 gene. Possible roles in the pathogenesis of N. meningitidis are discussed.

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