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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Sep;45(6):1729-40.

The gene bolA regulates dacA (PBP5), dacC (PBP6) and ampC (AmpC), promoting normal morphology in Escherichia coli.

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Instituto de Technologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.


The gene bolA has been shown to trigger the formation of osmotically stable round cells when overexpressed in stationary phase. We show that in poor growth conditions bolA is essential for normal cell morphology in stationary phase and under conditions of starvation. During exponential growth bolA promotes round morphology through a mechanism that is strictly dependent on the two main Escherichia colid,d-carboxypeptidases, PBP5 and PBP6. The results show that bolA controls the levels of transcription of dacA (PBP5), dacC (PBP6) and ampC (AmpC), a class C beta-lactamase, thus connecting for the first time penicillin binding proteins (PBPs) and beta-lactamases at the level of gene regulation. Furthermore, PBP5 and PBP6 are shown to be independently regulated and to have distinct effects on the peptidoglycan layer. The evidence presented demonstrates that bolA is a regulator of cell wall biosynthetic enzymes with different roles in cell morphology and cell division.

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