Penicillin-binding protein PBP2 of Escherichia coli localizes preferentially in the lateral wall and at mid-cell in comparison with the old cell pole



The localization of penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2) in Escherichia coli has been studied using a functional green fluorescent protein (GFP)–PBP2 fusion protein. PBP2 localized in the bacterial envelope in a spot-like pattern and also at mid-cell during cell division. PBP2 disappeared from mid-cell just before separation of the two daughter cells. It localized with a preference for the cylindrical part of the bacterium in comparison with the old cell poles, which are known to be inert with respect to peptidoglycan synthesis. In contrast to subunits of the divisome, PBP2 failed to localize at mid-cell when PBP3 was inhibited by the specific antibiotic aztreonam. Therefore, despite its dependency on active PBP3 for localization at mid-cell, it seems not to be an integral part of the divisome. Cells grown for approximately half a mass doubling time in the presence of the PBP2 inhibitor mecillinam synthesized nascent cell poles with an increased diameter, indicating that PBP2 is required for the maintenance of the correct diameter of the new cell pole.