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J Bacteriol. 1996 May;178(9):2479-88.

A major autolysin of Pseudomonas aeruginosa: subcellular distribution, potential role in cell growth and division and secretion in surface membrane vesicles.

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Center for Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network, Department of Microbiology, College of Biological Sciences, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


A 26-kDa murein hydrolase is the major autolysin of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1, and its expression can be correlated with the growth and division of cells in both batch and synchronously growing cultures. In batch cultures, it is detected primarily during the mid-exponential growth phase, and in synchronous cultures, it is detected primarily during the cell elongation and division phases. Immunogold labeling of thin sections of P. aeruginosa using antibodies raised against the 26-kDa autolysin revealed that it is associated mainly with the cell envelope and in particular within the periplasm. It is also tightly bound to the peptidoglycan layer, since murein sacculi, isolated by boiling 4% sodium dodecyl sulfate treatment, could also be immunogold labeled. Since division is due to cell constriction in this P. aeruginosa strain (septa are rarely seen), we cannot comment on the autolysin's contribution to septation, although constriction sites were always heavily labeled. Some labeling was also found in the cytoplasm, and this was thought to be due to the de novo synthesis of the enzyme before translocation to the periplasm. Interestingly, the autolysin was also found to be associated with natural membrane vesicles which blebbed from the surface during cell growth; the enzyme is therefore part of the complex makeup of these membrane packages of secreted materials (J. L. Kadurugamuwa and T. J. Beveridge, J. Bacteriol. 177:3998-4008, 1995). The expression of these membrane vesicles was correlated with the expression of B-band lipopolysaccharide.

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