The phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosyltransferase A (PimA) is an essential peripheral membrane glycosyltransferase that initiates the biosynthetic pathway of phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosides (PIMs), key structural elements and virulence factors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PimA undergoes functionally important conformational changes, including (i) α-helix-To-β-strand and β-strand-To-α-helix transitions and (ii) an "open-To-closed"motion between the two Rossmann-fold domains, a conformational change that is necessary to generate a catalytically competent active site. In previous work, we established that GDP-Man and GDP stabilize the enzyme and facilitate the switch to a more compact active state. To determine the structural contribution of the mannose ring in such an activation mechanism, we analyzed a series of chemical derivatives, including mannose phosphate (Man-P) and mannose pyrophosphate-ribose (Man-PP-RIB), and additional GDP derivatives, such as pyrophosphate ribose (PP-RIB) and GMP, by the combined use of X-ray crystallography, limited proteolysis, circular dichroism, isothermal titration calorimetry, and small angle X-ray scattering methods. Although the β-phosphate is present, we found that the mannose ring, covalently attached to neither phosphate (Man-P) nor PP-RIB (Man-PP-RIB), does promote the switch to the active compact form of the enzyme. Therefore, the nucleotide moiety of GDP-Man, and not the sugar ring, facilitates the "open-To-closed"motion, with the β-phosphate group providing the high-Affinity binding to PimA. Altogether, the experimental data contribute to a better understanding of the structural determinants involved in the "open-To-closed"motion not only observed in PimA but also visualized and/or predicted in other glycosyltransfeases. In addition, the experimental data might prove to be useful for the discovery and/or development of PimA and/or glycosyltransferase inhibitors.