New paper sheds light on bacterial cell wall recycling

Sep 08, 2008

A new paper by a team of researchers led by Shahriar Mobashery, Navari Family Professor of Life Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, provides important new insights into the process by which bacteria recycle their cell wall.

The cell wall is a critically important entity for bacteria and essential for their survival. It is a rigid entity encasing the bacterium, and antibiotics are designed to interfere with disease processes by affecting its maturation. The function of antibiotics is to impair the cell wall, leading to bacterial death.

Scientists have determined that during bacterial growth a substantial amount of the parental cell wall is recycled. Although the recycling process has been known, its intricacies have not been well understood to date.

Mobashery's team synthesized pieces of the cell wall of the bacterium Escherichia coli in his laboratory and was able to use the synthetic wall components to observe the chemical reactions that take place during the recycling process.

The researchers found that a member of the lytic transglycosylases family of enzymes known as M1tB performed the requisite cell wall fragmentation on the synthetic sample of the cell wall from their laboratory. They also were able to measure the rate of the transformation by M1tB, determining that 14,000 pieces of the cell wall are processed by each molecule of M1tB in one bacterial generation.

The product of the M1tB reaction on the cell wall is the entity that initiates the recycling event, but when it diffuses out of the bacterium, it causes the onset of the pro-inflammatory events associated with bacterial infections.

The cell wall recycling study appears in the September issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Source: University of Notre Dame

Explore further: Na-ion batteries get closer to replacing Li-ion batteries

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why your laptop battery won't kill you

5 hours ago

News on Tuesday that major U.S. airlines are no longer going to ship powerful lithium-ion batteries might lead some to fret about the safety of their personal electronic devices.

Visa, MasterCard moving into mobile pay in Africa

5 hours ago

Americans may just be getting used to mobile pay, but consumers in many African countries have been paying with their phones for years. Now payment processors Visa and MasterCard want to get a slice of that market, and are ...

Recommended for you

Solar cells get growth boost

2 hours ago

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University's (OIST) Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit have found that growing a type of film used to manufacture solar cells ...

Study could change nuclear fuel

5 hours ago

The adverse effects of radiation on nuclear fuel could soon be better controlled thanks to research involving UT's College of Engineering.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.