Universität Bonn

Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

23. March 2023

Blocked cell wall formation stops bacterial cell division Researchers from Bonn clarify inhibitory effect mechanism of antibiotics on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus

We still do not understand exactly how antibiotics kill bacteria. However, this understanding is necessary if we want to develop new antibiotics. And that is precisely what is urgently needed, because bacteria are currently showing more and more resistance to existing antibiotics. Therefore, researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn used high-performance microscopes to observe the effect of different antibiotics on the cell division of Staphylococcus aureus. They found that the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan, core component of the bacterial cell wall, is the driving force during the entire process of cell division. In addition, they clarified how exactly different antibiotics block cell division within a few minutes. The results have now been published in the journal Science Advances.

Blocked cell wall formation
Blocked cell wall formation - Bacterium Staphylococcus aureus under the microscope: Red fluorescent cell division protein FtsZ assembles so-called Z-ring in the center of the cell. © University of Bonn / Dominik Brajtenbach
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The bacterial cell wall maintains the shape and integrity of unicellular organisms. Cell wall synthesis plays a key role in bacterial growth: the cell division protein FtsZ forms the so-called Z-ring in the center of the cell, thus initiating the division process. A new cell wall is formed there, for which peptidoglycan is produced as the core component. This constriction thus gives rise to two identical daughter cells. ...


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