Mar 25, 2020

The length of lipoteichoic acid polymers controls Staphylococcus aureus cell size and envelope integrity

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. HesserSuzanne Walker


The opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is protected by a cell envelope that is crucial for viability. In addition to peptidoglycan, lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is an especially important component of the S. aureus cell envelope. LTA is an anionic polymer anchored to a glycolipid in the outer leaflet of the cell membrane. It was known that deleting the gene for UgtP, the enzyme that makes this glycolipid anchor, causes cell growth and division defects. In Bacillus subtilis, growth abnormalities from the loss of ugtP have been attributed to the absence of the encoded protein, not to loss of its enzymatic activity. Here, we show that growth defects in S. aureus ugtP deletion mutants are due to the long, abnormal LTA polymer that is produced when the glycolipid anchor is missing from the outer leaflet of the membrane. Dysregulated cell growth leads to defective cell division, and these phenotypes are corrected by mutations in the LTA polymerase, ltaS, that reduce polymer length. We also show that S. aureus mutants with long LTA are sensitized to cell wall hydrolases, beta-lactam antibiotics, and compounds that target other cell envelope pathways. We conclude that control of LTA polymer length is important for S. aureus physio...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Short Tandem Repeat
Genetic Disorders Screening
Dysequilibrium Syndrome
STATH gene
Hereditary Diseases
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism

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