Fig. 1A: Structure of Peptidoglycan: Staphylococcus aureus

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.

Illustration of the Structure of Peptidoglycan: Staphylococcus aureus.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

Creative Commons License

Last updated: July, 2018
Please send comments and inquiries to Dr. Gary Kaiser