Why do bacteria have shape? Is morphology valuable or just a trivial secondary characteristic? Why should bacteria have one shape instead of another? Three broad considerations suggest that bacterial shapes are not accidental but are biologically important: cells adopt uniform morphologies from among a wide variety of possibilities, some cells modify their… (More)
Two papers in this issue of Cell (Paradis-Bleau et al., 2010 and Typas et al., 2010) report that the lipoproteins LpoA and LpoB are required for the synthesis of cell walls in Escherichia coli. Attached to the bacterial outer membrane, these new cell wall components regulate penicillin-binding proteins located at the inner membrane.
For well over 100 years, cell biologists have been wondering what determines the size of cells. In modern times, we know all of the molecules that control the cell cycle and cell division, but we still do not understand how cell size is determined. To check whether modern cell biology has made any inroads on this age-old question, BMC Biology asked several… (More)
In Escherichia coli, division site placement is regulated by the dynamic behavior of the MinCDE proteins, which oscillate from pole to pole and confine septation to the centers of normal rod-shaped cells. Some current mathematical models explain these oscillations by considering interactions among the Min proteins without recourse to additional localization… (More)
The distribution of PBP5, the major D,D-carboxypeptidase in Escherichia coli, was mapped by immunolabelling and by visualization of GFP fusion proteins in wild-type cells and in mutants lacking one or more D,D-carboxypeptidases. In addition to being scattered around the lateral envelope, PBP5 was also concentrated at nascent division sites prior to visible… (More)
Escherichia coli penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) were associated only with inner membrane vesicles when separated on 30 to 65% or 19 to 49% (wt/wt) sucrose gradients. Fractionation of vesicles through the low-density gradient revealed at least two classes of PBP-inner membrane associations. The first class consisted of PBPs 1 through 4, and the second… (More)
UNLABELLED Peptidoglycan (PG) is an essential structural component of the bacterial cell wall and maintains the integrity and shape of the cell by forming a continuous layer around the cytoplasmic membrane. The thin PG layer of Escherichia coli resides in the periplasm, a unique compartment whose composition and pH can vary depending on the local… (More)
The Escherichia coli enzyme tryptophanase (TnaA) converts tryptophan to indole, which triggers physiological changes and regulates interactions between bacteria and their mammalian hosts. Tryptophanase production is induced by external tryptophan, but the activity of TnaA is also regulated by other, more poorly understood mechanisms. For example, the enzyme… (More)