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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32301. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032301. Epub 2012 Feb 27.

Analysis of the peptidoglycan hydrolase complement of Lactobacillus casei and characterization of the major γ-D-glutamyl-L-lysyl-endopeptidase.

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  • 1Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, UMR1319 Micalis, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Peptidoglycan (PG) is the major component of Gram positive bacteria cell wall and is essential for bacterial integrity and shape. Bacteria synthesize PG hydrolases (PGHs) which are able to cleave bonds in their own PG and play major roles in PG remodelling required for bacterial growth and division. Our aim was to identify the main PGHs in Lactobacillus casei BL23, a lactic acid bacterium with probiotic properties.The PGH complement was first identified in silico by amino acid sequence similarity searches of the BL23 genome sequence. Thirteen PGHs were detected with different predicted hydrolytic specificities. Transcription of the genes was confirmed by RT-PCR. A proteomic analysis combining the use of SDS-PAGE and LC-MS/MS revealed the main seven PGHs synthesized during growth of L. casei BL23. Among these PGHs, LCABL_02770 (renamed Lc-p75) was identified as the major one. This protein is the homolog of p75 (Msp1) major secreted protein of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which was shown to promote survival and growth of intestinal epithelial cells. We identified its hydrolytic specificity on PG and showed that it is a γ-D-glutamyl-L-lysyl-endopeptidase. It has a marked specificity towards PG tetrapeptide chains versus tripeptide chains and for oligomers rather than monomers. Immunofluorescence experiments demonstrated that Lc-p75 localizes at cell septa in agreement with its role in daughter cell separation. It is also secreted under an active form as detected in zymogram. Comparison of the muropeptide profiles of wild type and Lc-p75-negative mutant revealed a decrease of the amount of disaccharide-dipeptide in the mutant PG in agreement with Lc-p75 activity. As a conclusion, Lc-p75 is the major L. casei BL23 PGH with endopeptidase specificity and a key role in daughter cell separation. Further studies will aim at investigating the role of Lc-p75 in the anti-inflammatory potential of L. casei BL23.

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