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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nhat Khai Bui,
Dr Joseph Gray,
Professor Waldemar Vollmer
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Upon nutrient limitation cells of the swarming soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus form a multicellular fruiting body in which a fraction of the cells develop into myxospores. Spore development includes the transition from a rod-shaped vegetative cell to a spherical myxospore and so is expected to be accompanied by changes in the bacterial cell envelope. Peptidoglycan is the shape-determining structure in the cell envelope of most bacteria, including myxobacteria. We analyzed the composition of peptidoglycan isolated from M. xanthus. While the basic structural elements of peptidoglycan in myxobacteria were identical to those in other gram-negative bacteria, the peptidoglycan of M. xanthus had unique structural features. meso- or LL-diaminopimelic acid was present in the stem peptides, and a new modification of N-acetylmuramic acid was detected in a fraction of the muropeptides. Peptidoglycan formed a continuous, bag-shaped sacculus in vegetative cells. The sacculus was degraded during the transition from vegetative cells to glycerol-induced myxospores. The spherical, bag-shaped coats isolated from glycerol-induced spores contained no detectable muropeptides, but they contained small amounts of N-acetylmuramic acid and meso-diaminopimelic acid.
Author(s): Bui NK, Gray J, Schwarz H, Schumann P, Blanot D, Vollmer W
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Bacteriology
ISSN (print): 0021-9193
ISSN (electronic): 1067-8832
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
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