Magnesium rescues the morphology of Bacillus subtilis mreB mutants through its inhibitory effect on peptidoglycan hydrolases - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2022

Magnesium rescues the morphology of Bacillus subtilis mreB mutants through its inhibitory effect on peptidoglycan hydrolases

Abstract

Cell wall homeostasis in bacteria is tightly regulated by balanced synthesis and degradation of peptidoglycan (PG), allowing cells to expand their sacculus during growth while maintaining physical integrity. In rod-shaped bacteria, actin-like MreB proteins are key players of the PG elongation machinery known as the Rod complex. In the Gram-positive model bacterium Bacillus subtilis depletion of the essential MreB leads to loss of rod shape and cell lysis. However, millimolar concentrations of magnesium in the growth medium rescue the viability and morphological defects of mreB mutants by an unknown mechanism. Here, we used a combination of cytological, biochemical and biophysical approaches to investigate the cell surface properties of mreB null mutant cells and the interactions of Mg 2+ with the cell wall of B. subtilis . We show that ∆ mreB cells have rougher and softer surfaces, and changes in PG composition indicative of increased DL- and DD-endopeptidase activities as well as increased deacetylation of the sugar moieties. Increase in DL-endopeptidase activity is mitigated by excess Mg 2+ while DD-endopeptidase activity remains high. Visualization of PG degradation in pulse-chase experiments showed anisotropic PG hydrolase activity along the sidewalls of ∆mreB cells, in particular at the sites of increased cell width and bulging, while PG synthesis remained isotropic. Overall, our data support a model in which divalent cations maintain rod shape in ∆ mreB cells by inhibiting PG hydrolases, possibly through the formation of crosslinks with carboxyl groups of the PG meshwork that affect the capacity of PG hydrolases to act on their substrate.
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hal-03675139 , version 1 (17-04-2023)

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Benoit Tesson, Alex Dajkovic, Ruth Keary, Christian Marlière, Christine Dupont-Gillain, et al.. Magnesium rescues the morphology of Bacillus subtilis mreB mutants through its inhibitory effect on peptidoglycan hydrolases. Scientific Reports, 2022, 12 (1), pp.1137. ⟨10.1038/s41598-021-04294-5⟩. ⟨hal-03675139⟩
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