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Imaging Bacterial Cell Wall Biosynthesis

Authors
  • Radkov, Atanas D.
  • Hsu, Yen-Pang
  • Booher, Garrett
  • VanNieuwenhze, Michael S.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Biochemistry
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jun 20, 2018
Volume
87
Pages
991–1014
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-062917-012921
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Peptidoglycan is an essential component of the cell wall that protects bacteria from environmental stress. A carefully coordinated biosynthesis of peptidoglycan during cell elongation and division is required for cell viability. This biosynthesis involves sophisticated enzyme machineries that dynamically synthesize, remodel, and degrade peptidoglycan. However, when and where bacteria build peptidoglycan, and how this is coordinated with cell growth, have been long-standing questions in the field. The improvement of microscopy techniques has provided powerful approaches to study peptidoglycan biosynthesis with high spatiotemporal resolution. Recent development of molecular probes further accelerated the growth of the field, which has advanced our knowledge of peptidoglycan biosynthesis dynamics and mechanisms. Here, we review the technologies for imaging the bacterial cell wall and its biosynthesis activity. We focus on the applications of fluorescent d-amino acids, a newly developed type of probe, to visualize and study peptidoglycan synthesis and dynamics, and we provide direction for prospective research.

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