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Bacterial wall peptidoglycan, DD-peptidases and beta-lactam antibiotics.


Wall peptidoglycan expansion in bacteria rests upon a cytoplasmic D-Ala: D-Ala ligase (ADP) which catalyses synthesis of a D-Ala-D-Ala dipeptide (with accompanying hydrolysis of one molecule of ATP) and a set of DD-peptidases which utilize this D-Ala-D-Ala dipeptide--once it has been translocated at the outer face of the plasma membrane as the C-terminal portion of a disaccharide peptide unit--as carbonyl donor for transpeptidation and carboxypeptidation reactions (without additional energy expenditure). Four DD-peptidases have been selected which differ from each other with respect to the effects that amino compounds exert on the fate and rate of consumption of a D-Ala-D-Ala terminated amide carbonyl donor analogue. They serve as models to understand the different mechanisms by which the DD-peptidases perform catalysis and show widely varying responses to the action of beta-lactams, from extreme sensitivity to very high resistance.

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