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Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis, a disease that kills over one million people each year. Its cell envelope is a common antibiotic target and has a unique structure due, in part, to two lipidated polysaccharides - arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan. Arabinofuranosyltransferase D (AftD) is an essential enzyme involved in assembling these glycolipids. We present the 2.9 Å resolution structure of M. abscessus AftD determined by single particle cryo-electron microscopy. AftD has a conserved GT-C glycosyltransferase fold and three carbohydrate binding modules. Glycan array analysis shows that AftD binds complex arabinose glycans. Additionally, AftD is non-covalently complexed with an acyl carrier protein (ACP). 3.4 and 3.5 Å structures of a mutant with impaired ACP binding reveal a conformational change that suggests the ACP may regulate AftD function. Using a conditional knock-out constructed in M. smegmatis, mutagenesis experiments confirm the essentiality of the putative active site and the ACP binding for AftD function.

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