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Mol Microbiol. 2019 Oct;112(4):1100-1115. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14349. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Lytic transglycosylases RlpA and MltC assist in Vibrio cholerae daughter cell separation.

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Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA.
Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA.
Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA.


The cell wall is a crucial structural feature in the vast majority of bacteria and comprises a covalently closed network of peptidoglycan (PG) strands. While PG synthesis is important for survival under many conditions, the cell wall is also a dynamic structure, undergoing degradation and remodeling by 'autolysins', enzymes that break down PG. Cell division, for example, requires extensive PG remodeling, especially during separation of daughter cells, which depends heavily upon the activity of amidases. However, in Vibrio cholerae, we demonstrate that amidase activity alone is insufficient for daughter cell separation and that lytic transglycosylases RlpA and MltC both contribute to this process. MltC and RlpA both localize to the septum and are functionally redundant under normal laboratory conditions; however, only RlpA can support normal cell separation in low-salt media. The division-specific activity of lytic transglycosylases has implications for the local structure of septal PG, suggesting that there may be glycan bridges between daughter cells that cannot be resolved by amidases. We propose that lytic transglycosylases at the septum cleave PG strands that are crosslinked beyond the reach of the highly regulated activity of the amidase and clear PG debris that may block the completion of outer membrane invagination.

[Available on 2020-10-01]

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