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Bacterial cell-wall recycling


Shahriar Mobashery, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, 423 Nieuwland Science Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.


Many Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria recycle a significant proportion of the peptidoglycan components of their cell walls during their growth and septation. In many—and quite possibly all—bacteria, the peptidoglycan fragments are recovered and recycled. Although cell-wall recycling is beneficial for the recovery of resources, it also serves as a mechanism to detect cell-wall–targeting antibiotics and to regulate resistance mechanisms. In several Gram-negative pathogens, anhydro-MurNAc-peptide cell-wall fragments regulate AmpC β-lactamase induction. In some Gram-positive organisms, short peptides derived from the cell wall regulate the induction of both β-lactamase and β-lactam–resistant penicillin-binding proteins. The involvement of peptidoglycan recycling with resistance regulation suggests that inhibitors of the enzymes involved in the recycling might synergize with cell-wall–targeted antibiotics. Indeed, such inhibitors improve the potency of β-lactams in vitro against inducible AmpC β-lactamase–producing bacteria. We describe the key steps of cell-wall remodeling and recycling, the regulation of resistance mechanisms by cell-wall recycling, and recent advances toward the discovery of cell-wall–recycling inhibitors.