PMID: 45147May 1, 1979

From penicillin-binding proteins to the lysis and death of bacteria: a 1979 view

Reviews of Infectious Diseases
A Tomasz

Abstract

The mechanism by which interference with the biosynthesis of bacterial cell wall causes death and lysis of bacteria appears more complex than originally thought. In an earlier model of the mode of action of beta-lactams, it was assumed that, in the presence of the antibiotics, bacteria synthesize a mechanically weak (poorly cross-linked) cell wall that ruptured under the osmotic-mechanical pressure of the normally growing cytoplasmic mass. However, recent findings suggest a much more complex picture. Lysis and, in at least some bacteria, loss of viability as well, seem to be catalyzed by autolytic enzymes (murein hydrolases), the destructive activity of which is triggered in the beta-lactam-treated bacterium via a poorly understood mechanism. Furthermore, different species of bacteria respond quite differently to treatment with the same beta-lactam: some bacteria are both killed and lysed, others only lose viability, whereas still other species respond mainly by a reversible inhibition of growth (beta-lactam-tolerant bacteria). In addition, structurally different beta-lactams may cause quite different biochemical, morphological, and antibacterial effects, even within the same bacterial species. It is conceivable, therefore, tha...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Bacterial Proteins
Bacteriolysis
Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase
Carrier Proteins
Cell Division Phases
Cell Wall
Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Hexosyltransferase
Hydrolase
Autolysin

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