• penicillin-binding proteins;
  • stationary phase-specific competition defect;
  • osmotic stress


The penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) catalyze the synthesis and modification of bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan. Although the biochemical activities of these proteins have been determined in Escherichia coli, the physiological roles of many PBPs remain enigmatic. Previous studies have cast doubt on the individual importance of the majority of PBPs during log phase growth. We show here that PBP1b is vital for competitive survival of E. coli during extended stationary phase, but the other nine PBPs studied are dispensable. Loss of PBP1b leads to the stationary phase-specific competition defective phenotype and causes cells to become more sensitive to osmotic stress. Additionally, we present evidence that this protein, as well as AmpC, may assist in cellular resistance to β-lactam antibiotics.