Peptidoglycan is the major component of the cell envelope of virtually all bacteria. It has structural roles and acts as a selective sieve for molecules from the outer environment. Peptidoglycan synthesis is therefore one of the most important biogenesis pathways in bacteria and has been studied extensively over the last twenty years. The pathway starts in the cytoplasm, continues in the cytoplasmic membrane and finishes in the periplasmic space, where the precursor is polymerized into the peptidoglycan layer. A number of proteins involved in this pathway, such as the Mur enzymes and the penicillin binding proteins (PBPs), have been studied and regarded as good targets for antibiotics. The present review focuses on the membrane steps of peptidoglycan synthesis that involve two enzymes, MraY and MurG, the inhibitors of these enzymes and the inhibition mechanisms. We also discuss the challenges of targeting these two cytoplasmic membrane (associated) proteins in bacterial cells and the perspectives on how to overcome the issues.
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