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Trends Microbiol. 2006 Jun;14(6):271-6. Epub 2006 May 3.

Wake up! Peptidoglycan lysis and bacterial non-growth states.

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School of Crystallography and Institute of Structural Molecular Biology, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London, UK, WC1E 7HX.


When stressed, bacteria can enter various non-dividing states, which are medically important. For example, dormancy is used by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to evade host responses. A major breakthrough has been the discovery of resuscitation-promoting factor (Rpf) from Micrococcus luteus, which is an extremely potent anti-dormancy factor. Mycobacteria have multiple proteins that contain this domain. Surprisingly, the highly conserved resuscitation-promoting factor domain has strong structural similarities to lysozyme and soluble lytic transglycosylases, and it has been demonstrated that resuscitation-promoting factors cleave peptidoglycan. This suggests that the activation of dormant cells requires peptidoglycan hydrolysis, which either alters the mechanical properties of the cell wall to facilitate cell division or releases lysis products that function as anti-dormancy signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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