Peptidoglycan is composed of cross-linked chains of peptidoglycan monomers (NAG-NAM-pentapeptide). Transglycosylase enzymes join these monomers join together to form chains. Transpeptidase enzymes then cross-link the chains to provide strength to the cell wall and enable the bacterium to resist osmotic lysis.
In a peptidoglycan monomer of E. coli, the pentapeptide coming off the NAM is composed of the amino acids L-alanine, D-glutamic acid, meso-diaminopimelic acid, and two D-alanines. The peptide cross-link forms between the diaminopimelic acid of one peptide chain with the D-alanine of another and in the process the terminal D-alanine is cleaved from the pentapeptide to form a tetrapeptide in the peptidogycan.
Illustration of Structure of Peptidoglycan:
Escherichia coli.jpg by Gary E. Kaiser, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology, The Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville Campus
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://faculty.ccbcmd.edu/~gkaiser/index.html.
Last updated: July, 2018
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