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J Bacteriol. 1999 Jan;181(1):126-32.

Roles of low-molecular-weight penicillin-binding proteins in Bacillus subtilis spore peptidoglycan synthesis and spore properties.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA. dpopham@vt.edu


The peptidoglycan cortex of endospores of Bacillus species is required for maintenance of spore dehydration and dormancy, and the structure of the cortex may also allow it to function in attainment of spore core dehydration. A significant difference between spore and growing cell peptidoglycan structure is the low degree of peptide cross-linking in cortical peptidoglycan; regulation of the degree of this cross-linking is exerted by D,D-carboxypeptidases. We report here the construction of mutant B. subtilis strains lacking all combinations of two and three of the four apparent D, D-carboxypeptidases encoded within the genome and the analysis of spore phenotypic properties and peptidoglycan structure for these strains. The data indicate that while the dacA and dacC products have no significant role in spore peptidoglycan formation, the dacB and dacF products both function in regulating the degree of cross-linking of spore peptidoglycan. The spore peptidoglycan of a dacB dacF double mutant was very highly cross-linked, and this structural modification resulted in a failure to achieve normal spore core dehydration and a decrease in spore heat resistance. A model for the specific roles of DacB and DacF in spore peptidoglycan synthesis is proposed.

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