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Dispersed mode of Staphylococcus aureus cell wall synthesis in the absence of the division machinery

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeff Errington FRSORCiD


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We have developed several new fluorescent staining procedures that enabled us to study the synthesis of cell wall material in the spherical Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. The results obtained support previous proposals that these cells synthesize new wall material specifically at cell division sites, in the form of a flat circular plate that is subsequently cleaved and remodelled to produce the new hemispherical poles of the daughter cells. We have shown that formation of the septal peptidoglycan is dependent on the key cell division protein FtsZ, which recruits penicillin-binding protein (PBP) 2. Unexpectedly, in FtsZ-depleted cells, the cell wall synthetic machinery becomes dispersed and new wall material is made in dispersed patches over the entire surface of the cells, which increase in volume by up to eightfold before lysing. The results have implications for understanding the nature of S. aureus morphogenesis and for inhibitors of cell division proteins as drug targets.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pinho MG, Errington J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Microbiology

Year: 2003

Volume: 50

Issue: 3

Pages: 871-881

ISSN (print): 0950-382X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2958

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03719.x


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