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Cell Microbiol. 2014 Jul;16(7):1014-23. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12304. Epub 2014 Jun 2.

The biology of bacterial peptidoglycans and their impact on host immunity and physiology.

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Institut Pasteur, Biology and genetics of the bacterial cell wall Unit, Paris, 75724, France; INSERM, Avenir group, Paris, 75015, France.


Peptidoglycans (PGN) are a constituent of the bacterial cell wall, and are shed as bacteria divide. The presence of PGN is therefore a marker of bacterial activity that has been exploited by both plants and animals to induce defence mechanisms. Pattern recognition receptors that recognize PGN are extremely well conserved throughout evolution and shown to play important and diverse role in the development, homeostasis and activation of the immune system. In addition, PGN can be detected beyond mucosal surfaces, and their receptor can be expressed in tissues and cells that are far from the niches where bacteria reside. Thus, PGN affects not only the host's immunity, but also more generally the host's physiology. In this review, we discuss the biochemistry and biology of PGN, and their intriguing effects on the development of the immune system and the host physiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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