A Burkholderia cenocepacia MurJ (MviN) homolog is essential for cell wall peptidoglycan synthesis and bacterial viability

Yasmine Fathy Mohamed, Miguel A Valvano

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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The cell wall peptidoglycan (PG) of Burkholderia cenocepacia, an opportunistic pathogen, has not yet been characterized. However, the B. cenocepacia genome contains homologs of genes encoding PG biosynthetic functions in other bacteria. PG biosynthesis involves the formation of the undecaprenyl-pyrophosphate-linked N-acetyl glucosamine-N-acetyl muramic acid-pentapeptide, known as lipid II, which is built on the cytosolic face of the cell membrane. Lipid II is then translocated across the membrane and its glycopeptide moiety becomes incorporated into the growing cell wall mesh; this translocation step is critical to PG synthesis. We have investigated candidate flippase homologs of the MurJ family in B. cenocepacia. Our results show that BCAL2764, herein referred to as murJBc, is indispensable for viability. Viable B. cenocepacia could only be obtained through a conditional mutagenesis strategy by placing murJBc under the control of a rhamnose-inducible promoter. Under rhamnose depletion, the conditional strain stopped growing and individual cells displayed morphological abnormalities consistent with a defect in PG synthesis. Bacterial cells unable to express MurJBc underwent cell lysis, while partial MurJBc depletion sensitized the mutant to the action of β-lactam antibiotics. Depletion of MurJBc caused accumulation of PG precursors consistent with the notion that this protein plays a role in lipid II flipping to the periplasmic compartment. Reciprocal complementation experiments of conditional murJ mutants in B. cenocepacia and Escherichia coli with plasmids expressing MurJ from each strain indicated that MurJBc and MurJEc are functional homologs. Together, our results are consistent with the notion that MurJBc is a PG lipid II flippase in B. cenocepacia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-76
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Early online date31 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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