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This article is part of the Research Topic

Bacterial Cell Wall Structure and Dynamics

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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00331

Cell Wall Hydrolases in Bacteria: Insight on the Diversity of Cell Wall Amidases, Glycosidases and Peptidases towards Peptidoglycan

  • 1INRA UMR454 Microbiologie Environnement Digestif et Santé, France
  • 2BioFilm Control, France
  • 3University of Warsaw, Poland

The cell wall (CW) of bacteria is an intricate arrangement of macromolecules, at least constituted of peptidoglycan (PG) but also of (lipo)teichoic acids, various polysaccharides, polyglutamate and/or proteins. During bacterial growth and division, there is a constant balance between CW degradation and biosynthesis. The CW is remodelled by bacterial hydrolases, whose activities are carefully regulated to maintain cell integrity or lead to bacterial death. Each cell wall hydrolase (CWH) has a specific role regarding the PG: (i) cell wall amidase (CWA) cleaves the amide bond between N-acetylmuramic acid and L-alanine residue at the N-terminal of the stem peptide, (ii) cell wall glycosidase (CWG) catalyses the hydrolysis of the glycosidic linkages, whereas (iii) cell wall peptidase (CWP) cleaves amide bonds between amino acids within the PG chain. After an exhaustive overview of all known conserved catalytic domains responsible for CWA, CWG and CWP activities, this review stresses that the CWHs frequently display a modular architecture combining multiple and/or different catalytic domains, including some lytic transglycosylases as well as CW binding domains. From there, direct physiological and collateral roles of CWHs in bacterial cells are further discussed.

Keywords: Bacterial cell wall, Peptidoglycan (PG) hydrolases, Protein modules, Cell wall binding domain, bacterial division and growth, cell lysis, Cell wall remodelling, Lytic transglycosylases, Glycosyl hydrolase (GH), Cellulosome

Received: 09 Aug 2018; Accepted: 08 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Patrick J. Moynihan, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Christopher Davies, Medical University of South Carolina, United States
Sheena McGowan, Monash University, Australia
Johann Peltier, Institut Pasteur, France  

Copyright: © 2019 VERMASSEN, LEROY, TALON, Provot, Popowska and Desvaux. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Mickaël Desvaux, INRA UMR454 Microbiologie Environnement Digestif et Santé, Clermont-Ferrand, France,