Super-resolution microscopy reveals cell wall dynamics and peptidoglycan architecture in ovococcal bacteria

Authors

  • Richard Wheeler,

    1. Krebs Institute, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
    2. Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Stéphane Mesnage,

    1. Krebs Institute, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
    2. Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Ivo G. Boneca,

    1. Institut Pasteur, Group Biology and Genetics of the Bacterial Cell Wall, Paris F-75015, France.
    2. INSERM, Groupe Avenir, Paris F-75015, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jamie K. Hobbs,

    1. Krebs Institute, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
    2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, The Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Simon J. Foster

    Corresponding author
    1. Krebs Institute, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
    2. Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
      E-mail s.foster@sheffield.ac.uk; Tel. (+44) 114 222 4411; Fax (+44) 114 272 8697.
    Search for more papers by this author

E-mail s.foster@sheffield.ac.uk; Tel. (+44) 114 222 4411; Fax (+44) 114 272 8697.

Summary

Cell morphology and viability in Eubacteria is dictated by the architecture of peptidoglycan, the major and essential structural component of the cell wall. Although the biochemical composition of peptidoglycan is well understood, how the peptidoglycan architecture can accommodate the dynamics of growth and division while maintaining cell shape remains largely unknown. Here, we elucidate the peptidoglycan architecture and dynamics of bacteria with ovoid cell shape (ovococci), which includes a number of important pathogens, by combining biochemical analyses with atomic force and super-resolution microscopies. Atomic force microscopy analysis showed preferential orientation of the peptidoglycan network parallel to the short axis of the cell, with distinct architectural features associated with septal and peripheral wall synthesis. Super-resolution three-dimensional structured illumination fluorescence microscopy was applied for the first time in bacteria to unravel the dynamics of peptidoglycan assembly in ovococci. The ovococci have a unique peptidoglycan architecture and growth mode not observed in other model organisms.

Ancillary