Peptidoglycan precursor synthesis along the sidewall of pole-growing mycobacteria

Amol A Pohane, Benjamin Swarts

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57 Scopus citations


Rod-shaped mycobacteria expand from their poles, yet d-amino acid probes label cell wall peptidoglycan in this genus at both the poles and sidewall. We sought to clarify the metabolic fates of these probes. Monopeptide incorporation was decreased by antibiotics that block peptidoglycan synthesis or l,d-transpeptidation and in an l,d-transpeptidase mutant. Dipeptides complemented defects in d-alanine synthesis or ligation and were present in lipid-linked peptidoglycan precursors. Characterizing probe uptake pathways allowed us to localize peptidoglycan metabolism with precision: monopeptide-marked l,d-transpeptidase remodeling and dipeptide-marked synthesis were coincident with mycomembrane metabolism at the poles, septum and sidewall. Fluorescent pencillin-marked d,d-transpeptidation around the cell perimeter further suggested that the mycobacterial sidewall is a site of cell wall assembly. While polar peptidoglycan synthesis was associated with cell elongation, sidewall synthesis responded to cell wall damage. Peptidoglycan editing along the sidewall may support cell wall robustness in pole-growing mycobacteria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e37243
StatePublished - 2018


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