MreC and MreD balance the interaction between the elongasome proteins PBP2 and RodA

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Author Name

Xiaolong Liu

Jacob Biboy

Waldemar Vollmer

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Rod-shape of most bacteria is maintained by the elongasome, which mediates the synthesis and insertion of peptidoglycan into the cylindrical part of the cell wall. The elongasome contains several essential proteins, such as RodA, PBP2, and the MreBCD proteins, but how its activities are regulated remains poorly understood. Using E. coli as a model system, we investigated the interactions between core elongasome proteins in vivo. Our results show that PBP2 and RodA form a complex mediated by their transmembrane and periplasmic parts and independent of their catalytic activity. MreC and MreD also interact directly with PBP2. MreC elicits a chance in the interaction between PBP2 and RodA, which is suppressed by MreD. The cytoplasmic domain of PBP2 is required for this suppression. We hypothesize that the in vivo measured PBP2-RodA interaction change induced by MreC corresponds to the conformational change in PBP2 as observed in the MreC-PBP2 crystal structure, which was suggested to be the 'on state' of PBP2. Our results indicate that the balance between MreC and MreD determines the activity of PBP2, which could open new strategies for antibiotic drug development.

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