Special Issue "Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target"

A special issue of Antibiotics (ISSN 2079-6382).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Waldemar Vollmer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Interests: bacterial cell wall structure and architecture; molecular mechanism of peptidoglycan growth, peptidoglycan synthases and hydrolases; antibiotic inhibition of cell wall synthesis; penicillin-binding proteins; regulation of cell wall growth; bacterial morphogenesis and cell division.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This issue of Antibiotics is dedicated to the topic of bacterial cell wall as antimicrobial target. The cell wall is unique and essential to bacteria and a validated drug target whose synthesis is inhibited by some of our most successful classes of antibiotics. Primary research manuscripts and review articles dealing with the molecular mechanism of the various cytosolic and membrane steps in peptidoglycan synthesis, their regulation and inhibition by established drugs and novel inhibitors, as well as mechanisms for antibiotic resistance, are invited. Submitted manuscripts will be peer-reviewed to ensure that the issue contains high quality contributions. Collectively, this issue will summarize the current knowledge on bacterial cell wall synthesis and its inhibition by antimicrobials.

Dr. Waldemar Vollmer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Antibiotics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bacterial cell wall
  • peptidoglycan
  • Mur enzymes
  • penicillin-binding proteins
  • glycosyltransterase
  • hydrolases
  • lipid II
  • regulation
  • inhibition
  • antimicrobials
  • resistance

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Bulgecin A: The Key to a Broad‐Spectrum Inhibitor That Targets Lytic Transglycosylases
Antibiotics 2017, 6(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics6010008 - 22 Feb 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
Lytic transglycosylases (Lts) are involved in recycling, cell division, and metabolism of the peptidoglycan. They have been understudied for their usefulness as potential antibacterial targets due to their high redundancy in Gram‐negative bacteria. Bulgecin A is an O‐sulphonated glycopeptide that targets primarily soluble [...] Read more.
Lytic transglycosylases (Lts) are involved in recycling, cell division, and metabolism of the peptidoglycan. They have been understudied for their usefulness as potential antibacterial targets due to their high redundancy in Gram‐negative bacteria. Bulgecin A is an O‐sulphonated glycopeptide that targets primarily soluble lytic tranglycosylases (Slt). It has been shown that bulgecin A increases the efficacy of β‐lactams that target penicillin bindings proteins (PBPs). Here, we present the high‐resolution crystal structure of LtgA from Neisseria meningitidis strain MC58, a membrane bound homolog of Escherichia coli Slt, in complex with bulgecin A. The LtgA‐bulgecin A complex reveals the mechanism of inhibition by bulgecin A at near atomic resolution. We further demonstrate that bulgecin A is not only a potent inhibitor of LtgA, but most importantly, it restores the efficacy of β‐lactam antibiotics in strains of N. meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae that have reduced susceptibility to β‐lactams. This is particularly relevant for N. gonorrhoeae where no vaccines are available. This work illustrates how best to target dangerous pathogens using a multiple drug target approach, a new and alternative approach to fighting antibiotic resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessArticle
Pectocin M1 (PcaM1) Inhibits Escherichia coli Cell Growth and Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis through Periplasmic Expression
Antibiotics 2016, 5(4), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5040036 - 08 Oct 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Colicins are bacterial toxins produced by some Escherichia coli strains. They exhibit either enzymatic or pore-forming activity towards a very limited number of bacterial species, due to the high specificity of their reception and translocation systems. Yet, we succeeded in making the colicin [...] Read more.
Colicins are bacterial toxins produced by some Escherichia coli strains. They exhibit either enzymatic or pore-forming activity towards a very limited number of bacterial species, due to the high specificity of their reception and translocation systems. Yet, we succeeded in making the colicin M homologue from Pectobacterium carotovorum, pectocin M1 (PcaM1), capable of inhibiting E. coli cell growth by bypassing these reception and translocation steps. This goal was achieved through periplasmic expression of this pectocin. Indeed, when appropriately addressed to the periplasm of E. coli, this pectocin could exert its deleterious effects, i.e., the enzymatic degradation of the peptidoglycan lipid II precursor, which resulted in the arrest of the biosynthesis of this essential cell wall polymer, dramatic morphological changes and, ultimately, cell lysis. This result leads to the conclusion that colicin M and its various orthologues constitute powerful antibacterial molecules able to kill any kind of bacterium, once they can reach their lipid II target. They thus have to be seriously considered as promising alternatives to antibiotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessArticle
The Peptidoglycan Pattern of Staphylococcus carnosus TM300—Detailed Analysis and Variations Due to Genetic and Metabolic Influences
Antibiotics 2016, 5(4), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5040033 - 23 Sep 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
The Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus carnosus (S. carnosus) TM300 is an apathogenic staphylococcal species commonly used in meat starter cultures. As with all Gram-positive bacteria, its cytoplasmic membrane is surrounded by a thick peptidoglycan (PGN) or murein sacculus consisting of several layers [...] Read more.
The Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus carnosus (S. carnosus) TM300 is an apathogenic staphylococcal species commonly used in meat starter cultures. As with all Gram-positive bacteria, its cytoplasmic membrane is surrounded by a thick peptidoglycan (PGN) or murein sacculus consisting of several layers of glycan strands cross-linked by peptides. In contrast to pathogenic staphylococci, mainly Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), the chemical composition of S. carnosus PGN is not well studied so far. UPLC/MS analysis of enzymatically digested S. carnosus TM300 PGN revealed substantial differences in its composition compared to the known pattern of S. aureus. While in S. aureus the uncross-linked stem peptide consists of a pentapeptide, in S. carnosus, this part of the PGN is shortened to tripeptides. Furthermore, we found the PGN composition to vary when cells were incubated under certain conditions. The collective overproduction of HlyD, FtsE and FtsX—a putative protein complex interacting with penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2)—caused the reappearance of classical penta stem peptides. In addition, under high sugar conditions, tetra stem peptides occur due to overflow metabolism. This indicates that S. carnosus TM300 cells adapt to various conditions by modification of their PGN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of a Fragment-Based Scaffold that Inhibits the Glycosyltransferase WaaG from Escherichia coli
Antibiotics 2016, 5(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5010010 - 28 Jan 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
WaaG is a glycosyltransferase that is involved in the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide in Gram-negative bacteria. Inhibitors of WaaG are highly sought after as they could be used to inhibit the biosynthesis of the core region of lipopolysaccharide, which would improve the uptake of [...] Read more.
WaaG is a glycosyltransferase that is involved in the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide in Gram-negative bacteria. Inhibitors of WaaG are highly sought after as they could be used to inhibit the biosynthesis of the core region of lipopolysaccharide, which would improve the uptake of antibiotics. Herein, we establish an activity assay for WaaG using 14C-labeled UDP-glucose and LPS purified from a ∆waaG strain of Escherichia coli. We noted that addition of the lipids phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and cardiolipin (CL), as well as the detergent 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonate (CHAPS) increased activity. We then use the assay to determine if three molecular scaffolds, which bind to WaaG, could inhibit its activity in vitro. We show that 4-(2-amino-1,3-thiazol-4-yl)phenol inhibits WaaG (IC50 1.0 mM), but that the other scaffolds do not. This study represents an important step towards an inhibitor of WaaG by fragment-based lead discovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Resistance to β-Lactams in Neisseria ssp Due to Chromosomally Encoded Penicillin-Binding Proteins
Antibiotics 2016, 5(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5040035 - 28 Sep 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are human pathogens that cause a variety of life-threatening systemic and local infections, such as meningitis or gonorrhoea. The treatment of such infection is becoming more difficult due to antibiotic resistance. The focus of this review is on [...] Read more.
Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are human pathogens that cause a variety of life-threatening systemic and local infections, such as meningitis or gonorrhoea. The treatment of such infection is becoming more difficult due to antibiotic resistance. The focus of this review is on the mechanism of reduced susceptibility to penicillin and other β-lactams due to the modification of chromosomally encoded penicillin-binding proteins (PBP), in particular PBP2 encoded by the penA gene. The variety of penA alleles and resulting variant PBP2 enzymes is described and the important amino acid substitutions are presented and discussed in a structural context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessReview
The Membrane Steps of Bacterial Cell Wall Synthesis as Antibiotic Targets
Antibiotics 2016, 5(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5030028 - 26 Aug 2016
Cited by 22
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessReview
Choline Binding Proteins from Streptococcus pneumoniae: A Dual Role as Enzybiotics and Targets for the Design of New Antimicrobials
Antibiotics 2016, 5(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5020021 - 14 Jun 2016
Cited by 18
Abstract
Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is an important pathogen responsible for acute invasive and non-invasive infections such as meningitis, sepsis and otitis media, being the major cause of community-acquired pneumonia. The fight against pneumococcus is currently hampered both by insufficient vaccine coverage and by rising [...] Read more.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is an important pathogen responsible for acute invasive and non-invasive infections such as meningitis, sepsis and otitis media, being the major cause of community-acquired pneumonia. The fight against pneumococcus is currently hampered both by insufficient vaccine coverage and by rising antimicrobial resistances to traditional antibiotics, making necessary the research on novel targets. Choline binding proteins (CBPs) are a family of polypeptides found in pneumococcus and related species, as well as in some of their associated bacteriophages. They are characterized by a structural organization in two modules: a functional module (FM), and a choline-binding module (CBM) that anchors the protein to the choline residues present in the cell wall through non-covalent interactions. Pneumococcal CBPs include cell wall hydrolases, adhesins and other virulence factors, all playing relevant physiological roles for bacterial viability and virulence. Moreover, many pneumococcal phages also make use of hydrolytic CBPs to fulfill their infectivity cycle. Consequently, CBPs may play a dual role for the development of novel antipneumococcal drugs, both as targets for inhibitors of their binding to the cell wall and as active cell lytic agents (enzybiotics). In this article, we review the current state of knowledge about host- and phage-encoded pneumococcal CBPs, with a special focus on structural issues, together with their perspectives for effective anti-infectious treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessReview
Structural Insights into Protein-Protein Interactions Involved in Bacterial Cell Wall Biogenesis
Antibiotics 2016, 5(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5020014 - 28 Apr 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
The bacterial cell wall is essential for survival, and proteins that participate in its biosynthesis have been the targets of antibiotic development efforts for decades. The biosynthesis of its main component, the peptidoglycan, involves the coordinated action of proteins that are involved in [...] Read more.
The bacterial cell wall is essential for survival, and proteins that participate in its biosynthesis have been the targets of antibiotic development efforts for decades. The biosynthesis of its main component, the peptidoglycan, involves the coordinated action of proteins that are involved in multi-member complexes which are essential for cell division (the “divisome”) and/or cell wall elongation (the “elongasome”), in the case of rod-shaped cells. Our knowledge regarding these interactions has greatly benefitted from the visualization of different aspects of the bacterial cell wall and its cytoskeleton by cryoelectron microscopy and tomography, as well as genetic and biochemical screens that have complemented information from high resolution crystal structures of protein complexes involved in divisome or elongasome formation. This review summarizes structural and functional aspects of protein complexes involved in the cytoplasmic and membrane-related steps of peptidoglycan biosynthesis, with a particular focus on protein-protein interactions whereby disruption could lead to the development of novel antibacterial strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessReview
Glycosyltransferases and Transpeptidases/Penicillin-Binding Proteins: Valuable Targets for New Antibacterials
Antibiotics 2016, 5(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics5010012 - 17 Feb 2016
Cited by 17
Abstract
Peptidoglycan (PG) is an essential macromolecular sacculus surrounding most bacteria. It is assembled by the glycosyltransferase (GT) and transpeptidase (TP) activities of multimodular penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) within multiprotein complex machineries. Both activities are essential for the synthesis of a functional stress-bearing PG shell. [...] Read more.
Peptidoglycan (PG) is an essential macromolecular sacculus surrounding most bacteria. It is assembled by the glycosyltransferase (GT) and transpeptidase (TP) activities of multimodular penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) within multiprotein complex machineries. Both activities are essential for the synthesis of a functional stress-bearing PG shell. Although good progress has been made in terms of the functional and structural understanding of GT, finding a clinically useful antibiotic against them has been challenging until now. In contrast, the TP/PBP module has been successfully targeted by β-lactam derivatives, but the extensive use of these antibiotics has selected resistant bacterial strains that employ a wide variety of mechanisms to escape the lethal action of these antibiotics. In addition to traditional β-lactams, other classes of molecules (non-β-lactams) that inhibit PBPs are now emerging, opening new perspectives for tackling the resistance problem while taking advantage of these valuable targets, for which a wealth of structural and functional knowledge has been accumulated. The overall evidence shows that PBPs are part of multiprotein machineries whose activities are modulated by cofactors. Perturbation of these systems could lead to lethal effects. Developing screening strategies to take advantage of these mechanisms could lead to new inhibitors of PG assembly. In this paper, we present a general background on the GTs and TPs/PBPs, a survey of recent issues of bacterial resistance and a review of recent works describing new inhibitors of these enzymes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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Open AccessReview
Core Steps of Membrane-Bound Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis: Recent Advances, Insight and Opportunities
Antibiotics 2015, 4(4), 495-520; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics4040495 - 03 Nov 2015
Cited by 9
Abstract
We are entering an era where the efficacy of current antibiotics is declining, due to the development and widespread dispersion of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. These factors highlight the need for novel antimicrobial discovery. A large number of antimicrobial natural products elicit their effect [...] Read more.
We are entering an era where the efficacy of current antibiotics is declining, due to the development and widespread dispersion of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. These factors highlight the need for novel antimicrobial discovery. A large number of antimicrobial natural products elicit their effect by directly targeting discrete areas of peptidoglycan metabolism. Many such natural products bind directly to the essential cell wall precursor Lipid II and its metabolites, i.e., preventing the utlisation of vital substrates by direct binding rather than inhibiting the metabolising enzymes themselves. Concurrently, there has been an increase in the knowledge surrounding the proteins essential to the metabolism of Lipid II at and across the cytoplasmic membrane. In this review, we draw these elements together and look to future antimicrobial opportunities in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cell Wall as Antimicrobial Target)
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