Demuris publication in Nature Microbiology

RodA as the missing glycosyltransferase in Bacillus subtilis and antibiotic discovery for the peptidoglycan polymerase pathway.

The bacterial cell wall is a highly conserved essential component of most bacterial groups. It is the target for our most frequently used antibiotics and provides important small molecules that trigger powerful innate immune responses. The wall is composed of glycan strands crosslinked by short peptides. For many years, the penicillin-binding proteins were thought to be the key enzymes required for wall synthesis. RodA and possibly other proteins in the wider SEDS (shape, elongation, division and sporulation) family have now emerged as a previously unknown class of essential glycosyltranferase enzymes, which play key morphogenetic roles in bacterial cell wall synthesis. We provide evidence in support of this role and the discovery of small natural product molecules that probably target these enzymes. The SEDS proteins have exceptional potential as targets for new antibacterial therapeutic agents.

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