New work from the Cava group provides novel insights into the genetics and physiology behind the peptidoglycan-recycling pathway
Most bacteria are surrounded by a protective cell wall consisting of a strong yet elastic polymer called peptidoglycan. The peptidoglycan cell wall is an essential structure for bacteria and thus, its biosynthesis and remodeling have always been in the spotlight when it comes to the development of antibiotics.
During bacterial growth, large amount of peptidoglycan fragments (also known as muropeptides) are released to the extracellular environment where they play roles in bacteria-bacteria and bacteria-host communication. However, in many species these fragments are predominantly re-internalized and recycled, a cellular process whose biological meaning has been elusive until now.
Felipe Cava's research group at the Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) studied the genetics and physiology behind the peptidoglycan-recycling pathway using as experimental model the causative agent of cholera, Vibrio cholerae. The study was performed in collaboration with Tobias Dörr (Cornell University, USA) and Matthew K. Waldor (Harvard Medical School, USA) and the results have been published in the journal Cell Reports on 28th April.
The scientists have revealed an unnoticed link between PG recycling and synthesis to promote optimal cell wall assembly and composition.