Teichoic acids and related cell-wall glycopolymers in Gram-positive physiology and host interactions

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Apr;6(4):276-87. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1861. Epub 2008 Mar 10.


Most Gram-positive bacteria incorporate membrane- or peptidoglycan-attached carbohydrate-based polymers into their cell envelopes. Such cell-wall glycopolymers (CWGs) often have highly variable structures and have crucial roles in protecting, connecting and controlling the major envelope constituents. Further important roles of CWGs in host-cell adhesion, inflammation and immune activation have also been described in recent years. Identifying and harnessing highly conserved or species-specific structural features of CWGs offers excellent opportunities for developing new antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics for use in the fight against severe infectious diseases, such as sepsis, pneumonia, anthrax and tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / physiology*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / physiology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • Teichoic Acids / chemistry*
  • Teichoic Acids / classification


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Polymers
  • Teichoic Acids