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MreC and MreD balance the interaction between the elongasome proteins PBP2 and RodA

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jacob BiboyORCiD, Professor Waldemar Vollmer



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


© 2020 Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Rod-shape of most bacteria is maintained by the elongasome, which mediates the synthesis and insertion of peptidoglycan into the cylindrical part of the cell wall. The elongasome contains several essential proteins, such as RodA, PBP2, and the MreBCD proteins, but how its activities are regulated remains poorly understood. Using E. coli as a model system, we investigated the interactions between core elongasome proteins in vivo. Our results show that PBP2 and RodA form a complex mediated by their transmembrane and periplasmic parts and independent of their catalytic activity. MreC and MreD also interact directly with PBP2. MreC elicits a change in the interaction between PBP2 and RodA, which is suppressed by MreD. The cytoplasmic domain of PBP2 is required for this suppression. We hypothesize that the in vivo measured PBP2-RodA interaction change induced by MreC corresponds to the conformational change in PBP2 as observed in the MreC-PBP2 crystal structure, which was suggested to be the “on state” of PBP2. Our results indicate that the balance between MreC and MreD determines the activity of PBP2, which could open new strategies for antibiotic drug development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Liu X, Biboy J, Consoli E, Vollmer W, den Blaauwen T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS Genetics

Year: 2020

Volume: 16

Issue: 12

Online publication date: 28/12/2020

Acceptance date: 12/11/2020

Date deposited: 27/01/2021

ISSN (print): 1553-7390

ISSN (electronic): 1553-7404

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009276


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Funder referenceFunder name
101824/Z/13/ZWellcome Trust