Peptidoglycan synthesis and its fine chemical composition were studied in dividing of carrying the mutation and in which the coccal shape was obtained either by mecillinam treatment or by transferring a mutation (penicillin-binding protein 2 phenotype), as compared to normal rods and non-dividing cocci. Synchronously dividing cocci showed peptidoglycan synthesis only in the cell cycle phase corresponding to cell septation. During the phase corresponding to lateral wall elongation, peptidoglycan synthesis was strongly reduced. This type of synthesis suggests that the dividing cocci consisted only of the two poles. Analysis of the muropeptide composition revealed a specific fourfold increase in the tetratetra-tetra trimer in dividing cocci as compared to non-dividing cocci or parental rods. We postulate that, in the chemical composition of septal peptidoglycan differs from that of lateral wall peptidoglycan.


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