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 S. aureus, the pentapeptide coming off the NAM is composed of the amino acids L-alanine, D-glutamine, L-lysine, and two D-alanines. The peptide cross-link forms by formation of a short peptide interbridge consisting of 5 glycines. In the process the terminal D-alanine is cleaved from the pentapeptide to form a tetrapeptide in the peptidogycan.