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J Bacteriol. 2008 Sep;190(17):5989-94. doi: 10.1128/JB.00506-08. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae uses two lytic transglycosylases to produce cytotoxic peptidoglycan monomers.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Peptidoglycan fragments released by Neisseria gonorrhoeae contribute to the inflammation and ciliated cell death associated with gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease. However, little is known about the production and release of these fragments during bacterial growth. Previous studies demonstrated that one lytic transglycosylase, LtgA, was responsible for the production of approximately half of the released peptidoglycan monomers. Systematic mutational analysis of other putative lytic transglycosylase genes identified lytic transglycosylase D (LtgD) as responsible for release of peptidoglycan monomers from gonococci. An ltgA ltgD double mutant was found not to release peptidoglycan monomers and instead released large, soluble peptidoglycan fragments. In pulse-chase experiments, recycled peptidoglycan was not found in cytoplasmic extracts from the ltgA ltgD mutant as it was for the wild-type strain, indicating that generation of anhydro peptidoglycan monomers by lytic transglycosylases facilitates peptidoglycan recycling. The ltgA ltgD double mutant showed no growth abnormalities or cell separation defects, suggesting that these enzymes are involved in pathogenesis but not necessary for normal growth.

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