DapE is a member of the meso-diaminopimelate (mDAP)/lysine biosynthetic pathway. The amino acids mDAP and/or lysine are essential components of the peptidoglycan cell wall for Gram-negative and most Gram-positive bacteria, providing a link between polysaccharide strands. Therefore, enzymes involved in the mDAP/lysine biosynthetic pathway are all potential antibiotic targets. DapEs are dimeric metallo-enzymes (41.6 kDa/subunit) that require two atoms of zinc per mole of polypeptide for full enzymatic activity.
Comparison of apo- and zinc-bound structures reveals structural differences upon metal binding.