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Discovery of chlamydial peptidoglycan reveals bacteria with murein sacculi but without FtsZ

Pilhofer, Martin and Aistleitner, Karin and Biboy, Jacob and Gray, Joe and Kuru, Erkin and Hall, Edward and Brun, Yves V. and VanNieuwenhze, Michael S. and Vollmer, Waldemar and Horn, Matthias and Jensen, Grant J. (2013) Discovery of chlamydial peptidoglycan reveals bacteria with murein sacculi but without FtsZ. Nature Communications, 4 (12). Art. No. 2856. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC3847603. doi:10.1038/ncomms3856.

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Chlamydiae are important pathogens and symbionts with unique cell biological features. They lack the cell-division protein FtsZ, and the existence of peptidoglycan (PG) in their cell wall has been highly controversial. FtsZ and PG together function in orchestrating cell division and maintaining cell shape in almost all other bacteria. Using electron cryotomography, mass spectrometry and fluorescent labelling dyes, here we show that some environmental chlamydiae have cell wall sacculi consisting of a novel PG type. Treatment with fosfomycin (a PG synthesis inhibitor) leads to lower infection rates and aberrant cell shapes, suggesting that PG synthesis is crucial for the chlamydial life cycle. Our findings demonstrate for the first time the presence of PG in a member of the Chlamydiae. They also present a unique example of a bacterium with a PG sacculus but without FtsZ, challenging the current hypothesis that it is the absence of a cell wall that renders FtsZ non-essential.

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Jensen, Grant J.0000-0003-1556-4864
Additional Information:© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 11 September 2013. Accepted 01 November 2013. Published 02 December 2013. Updated online 03 December 2013. This work was funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Y277-B03 to M.H.), the European Research Council (ERC StG ‘EvoChlamy’ to M.H.), NIH grant GM094800B (to G.J.J.), the Caltech Center for Environmental Microbiology Interactions (to G.J.J., M.P.), a gift from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to Caltech, the BBSRC (BB/I020012/1 to W.V.), NIH grant AI059327 (to M.S.V.) and NIH grant GM051986 (to Y.V.B.). We thank Elitza Tocheva for discussions on the preparation of sacculi. Author contributions: M.P. initiated the study. M.P. and K.A. performed all experiments except HPLC/MS analyses of sacculi, which were done by J.B., J.G. and W.V. E.K., E.H., Y.V.B. and M.S.V. provided the FDAA dyes and advice on the FDAA labelling experiments. M.P., K.A., W.V., M.H. and G.J.J. designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript.
Group:Caltech Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions (CEMI)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
FWF Der WissenschaftsfondsY277-B03
European Research Council (ERC)EvoChlamy
Caltech Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions (CEMI)UNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationBB/I020012/1
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/I020012/1
Subject Keywords:Biological sciences; Biophysics; Cell biology; Microbiology
Issue or Number:12
PubMed Central ID:PMC3847603
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140204-110344222
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Official Citation:Pilhofer, M. et al. Discovery of chlamydial peptidoglycan reveals bacteria with murein sacculi but without FtsZ. Nat. Commun. 4:2856 doi: 10.1038/ncomms3856 (2013)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43644
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:04 Feb 2014 21:14
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:40

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