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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Waldemar Vollmer
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MreB, the bacterial actin-like cytoskeleton, is required for the rod morphology of many bacterial species. Disruption of MreB function results in loss of rod morphology and cell rounding. Here, we show that the widely used MreB inhibitor A22 causes MreB-independent growth inhibition that varies with the drug concentration, culture medium conditions, and bacterial species tested. MP265, an A22 structural analog, is less toxic than A22 for growth yet equally efficient for disrupting the MreB cytoskeleton. The action of A22 and MP265 is enhanced by basic pH of the culture medium. Using this knowledge and the rapid reversibility of drug action, we examined the restoration of rod shape in lemon-shaped Caulobacter crescentus cells pretreated with MP265 or A22 under nontoxic conditions. We found that reversible restoration of MreB function after drug removal causes extensive morphological changes including a remarkable cell thinning accompanied with elongation, cell branching, and shedding of outer membrane vesicles. We also thoroughly characterized the composition of C. crescentus peptidoglycan by high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry and showed that MreB disruption and recovery of rod shape following restoration of MreB function are accompanied by considerable changes in composition. Our results provide insight into MreB function in peptidoglycan remodeling and rod shape morphogenesis and suggest that MreB promotes the transglycosylase activity of penicillin-binding proteins.
Author(s): Takacs CN, Poggio S, Charbon G, Pucheault M, Vollmer W, Jacobs-Wagner C
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Bacteriology
Print publication date: 01/03/2010
ISSN (print): 0021-9193
ISSN (electronic): 1098-5530
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
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