Discovery and characterization of a new class of O-linking oligosaccharyltransferases from the Moraxellaceae family

Cory J. Knoot, Paeton L. Wantuch, Lloyd S. Robinson, David A. Rosen, Nichollas E. Scott, Christian M. Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bacterial protein glycosylation is commonly mediated by oligosaccharyltransferases (OTases) that transfer oligosaccharides en bloc from preassembled lipid-linked precursors to acceptor proteins. Natively, O-linking OTases usually transfer a single repeat unit of the O-antigen or capsular polysaccharide to the side chains of serine or threonine on acceptor proteins. Three major families of bacterial O-linking OTases have been described: PglL, PglS, and TfpO. TfpO is limited to transferring short oligosaccharides both in its native context and when heterologously expressed in glycoengineered Escherichia coli. On the other hand, PglL and PglS can transfer long-chain polysaccharides when expressed in glycoengineered E. coli. Herein, we describe the discovery and functional characterization of a novel family of bacterial O-linking OTases termed TfpM from Moraxellaceae bacteria. TfpM proteins are similar in size and sequence to TfpO enzymes but can transfer long-chain polysaccharides to acceptor proteins. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that TfpM proteins cluster in distinct clades from known bacterial OTases. Using a representative TfpM enzyme from Moraxella osloensis, we determined that TfpM glycosylates a C-terminal threonine of its cognate pilin-like protein and identified the minimal sequon required for glycosylation. We further demonstrated that TfpM has broad substrate tolerance and can transfer diverse glycans including those with glucose, galactose, or 2-N-acetyl sugars at the reducing end. Last, we find that a TfpM-derived bioconjugate is immunogenic and elicits serotype-specific polysaccharide IgG responses in mice. The glycan substrate promiscuity of TfpM and identification of the minimal TfpM sequon renders this enzyme a valuable additional tool for expanding the glycoengineering toolbox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2023


  • Moraxella osloensis
  • O-glycosylation
  • bioconjugate
  • oligosaccharyltransferase
  • pilin


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