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J Bacteriol. 2007 Jun;189(11):4332-7. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Selectivity for D-lactate incorporation into the peptidoglycan precursors of Lactobacillus plantarum: role of Aad, a VanX-like D-alanyl-D-alanine dipeptidase.

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  • 1Unité de Génétique, Institut des Sciences de la Vie, Université catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


Lactobacillus plantarum produces peptidoglycan precursors ending in D-lactate instead of D-alanine, making the bacterium intrinsically resistant to vancomycin. The ligase Ddl of L. plantarum plays a central role in this specificity by synthesizing D-alanyl-D-lactate depsipeptides that are added to the precursor peptide chain by the enzyme MurF. Here we show that L. plantarum also encodes a D-Ala-D-Ala dipeptidase, Aad, which eliminates D-alanyl-D-alanine dipeptides that are produced by the Ddl ligase, thereby preventing their incorporation into the precursors. Although D-alanine-ended precursors can be incorporated into the cell wall, inactivation of Aad failed to suppress growth defects of L. plantarum mutants deficient in d-lactate-ended precursor synthesis.

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