1887

Abstract

Periodic activation of zonal peptidoglycan (murein) synthesis at division sites in has been reported recently. Zonal synthesis is responsible for septum formation, whereas elongation of the cell sacculus is performed by diffuse insertion of precursors. Zonal synthesis can be triggered in , and () division mutants growing as filaments at the restrictive temperature, but not in mutant strains. The lytic response to β-lactams of cells able or unable to periodically trigger a zonal mode of murein synthesis could be substantially different. Therefore, we investigated the response to the bacteriolytic β-lactam cefsulodin of and mutants growing at the restrictive (42 °C) temperature. The cells lysed early and quickly after addition of the antibiotic. Sacculi of lysed cells were transversely cut in a very sharp way. In contrast the strain lysed late and slowly after addition of the antibiotic and sacculi showed a generalized weakening of the murein network and extended breaks with a frayed appearance. No transversely cut sacculi comparable to those seen in the samples were found. Our results strongly support that β-lactam-induced lysis occurs preferentially at division sites because of the activation of zonal murein synthesis at the initiation of septation.

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2002-01-01
2020-01-26
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