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Differentiated roles for MreB-actin isologues and autolytic enzymes in Bacillus subtilis morphogenesis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Patricia Dominguez Cuevas, Dr Ida Porcelli, Dr Richard DanielORCiD, Professor Jeff ErringtonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Cell morphogenesis in most bacteria is governed by spatiotemporal growth regulation of the peptidoglycan cell wall layer. Much is known about peptidoglycan synthesis but regulation of its turnover by hydrolytic enzymes is much less well understood. Bacillus subtilis has a multitude of such enzymes. Two of the best characterized are CwlO and LytE: cells lacking both enzymes have a lethal block in cell elongation. Here we show that activity of CwlO is regulated by an ABC transporter, FtsEX, which is required for cell elongation, unlike cell division as in Escherichia coli. Actin-like MreB proteins are thought to play a key role in orchestrating cell wall morphogenesis. B.subtilis has three MreB isologues with partially differentiated functions. We now show that the three MreB isologues have differential roles in regulation of the CwlO and LytE systems and that autolysins control different aspects of cell morphogenesis. The results add major autolytic activities to the growing list of functions controlled by MreB isologues in bacteria and provide new insights into the different specialized functions of essential cell wall autolysins.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Domínguez-Cuevas P, Porcelli I, Daniel RA, Errington J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Microbiology

Year: 2013

Volume: 89

Issue: 6

Pages: 1084-1098

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

Online publication date: 04/08/2013

Acceptance date: 17/07/2013

Date deposited: 29/11/2013

ISSN (print): 0950-382X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2958

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/mmi.12335


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Funder referenceFunder name
BB/G015902/1UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council