July 7, 2019  |  

The absence of a mature cell wall sacculus in stable Listeria monocytogenes L-form cells is independent of peptidoglycan synthesis.

Authors: Studer, Patrick and Borisova, Marina and Schneider, Alexander and Ayala, Juan A and Mayer, Christoph and Schuppler, Markus and Loessner, Martin J and Briers, Yves

L-forms are cell wall-deficient variants of otherwise walled bacteria that maintain the ability to survive and proliferate in absence of the surrounding peptidoglycan sacculus. While transient or unstable L-forms can revert to the walled state and may still rely on residual peptidoglycan synthesis for multiplication, stable L-forms cannot revert to the walled form and are believed to propagate in the complete absence of peptidoglycan. L-forms are increasingly studied as a fundamental biological model system for cell wall synthesis. Here, we show that a stable L-form of the intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes features a surprisingly intact peptidoglycan synthesis pathway including glycosyl transfer, in spite of the accumulation of multiple mutations during prolonged passage in the cell wall-deficient state. Microscopic and biochemical analysis revealed the presence of peptidoglycan precursors and functional glycosyl transferases, resulting in the formation of peptidoglycan polymers but without the synthesis of a mature cell wall sacculus. In conclusion, we found that stable, non-reverting L-forms, which do not require active PG synthesis for proliferation, may still continue to produce aberrant peptidoglycan.

Journal: PloS one
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154925
Year: 2016

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