Summary: A new gene termed was found upstream of the autolysis regulatory genes, and , and was shown to potentially encode a hydrophilic 25 kDa protein. Analysis of transcription revealed that it is transcribed as a monocistronic message and is -independent. A role in cell wall metabolism was indicated by examination of the mutant KB323, which had a grossly aberrant cellular morphology and formed large cell clusters when grown in liquid culture medium. Furthermore, KB323 exhibited a reduced rate of autolysis and had increased peptidoglycan cross-linking compared to the parental strain, NCTC 8325-4. These data suggest that plays an important role in staphylococcal cell division.


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