The genetics and enzymology of the biosynthesis of wall teichoic acid have been the extensively studied, however, comparatively little is known regarding the enzymatic degradation of this biological polymer. The GP12 protein from the Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage ϕ29 has been implicated as a wall teichoic acid hydrolase. We have studied the wall teichoic acid hydrolase activity of pure, recombinant GP12 using chemically defined wall teichoic acid analogs. The GP12 protein had potent wall teichoic acid hydrolytic activity in vitro and demonstrated ∼13-fold kinetic preference for glycosylated poly(glycerol phosphate) teichoic acid compared with non-glycosylated. Product distribution patterns suggested that the degradation of glycosylated polymers proceeded from the hydroxyl terminus of the polymer, whereas hydrolysis occurred at random sites in the non-glycosylated polymer. In addition, we present evidence that the GP12 protein possesses both phosphodiesterase and phosphomonoesterase activities.


Myers CL, Ireland RG, Garrett TA, Brown ED.


J Biol Chem. 2015 Jul 31;290(31):19133-45. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.662866. Epub 2015 Jun 17.