Caister Academic Press

Control of Lytic Transglycosylase Activity within Bacterial Cell Walls

John M. Pfeffer, Patrick J. Moynihan, Chelsea A. Clarke, Chris Vandenende and Anthony J. Clarke
from: Bacterial Glycomics: Current Research, Technology and Applications (Edited by: Christopher W. Reid, Susan M. Twine, and Anne N. Reid). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


Lytic transglycosylases are an important class of bacterial enzymes that act on peptidoglycan with the same substrate specificity as lysozyme. Unlike the latter enzymes however, the lytic transglycosylases are not hydrolases, but instead cleave the glycosidic linkage between N-acetylmuramyl and N-acetylglucosaminyl residues with the concomitant formation of a 1,6-anydromuramyl product. They are ubiquitous in bacteria which produce a complement of different forms that are responsible for creating space within the peptidoglycan sacculus for its biosynthesis and recycling, cell division, and the insertion of cell-envelope spanning structures, such as flagella and secretion systems. Given their catastrophic autolytic potential, the activity of lytic transglycosylases must be tightly controlled within the producing cells. Three modes of control at the enzymatic level have been identified: the modification of substrate, membrane association and complex formation, and the production of proteinaceous inhibitors. These modes of control and their potential as new targets for antibacterials are discussed read more ...
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