Bacterial Cell Mechanics

Biochemistry. 2017 Jul 25;56(29):3710-3724. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00346. Epub 2017 Jul 11.

Abstract

Cellular mechanical properties play an integral role in bacterial survival and adaptation. Historically, the bacterial cell wall and, in particular, the layer of polymeric material called the peptidoglycan were the elements to which cell mechanics could be primarily attributed. Disrupting the biochemical machinery that assembles the peptidoglycan (e.g., using the β-lactam family of antibiotics) alters the structure of this material, leads to mechanical defects, and results in cell lysis. Decades after the discovery of peptidoglycan-synthesizing enzymes, the mechanisms that underlie their positioning and regulation are still not entirely understood. In addition, recent evidence suggests a diverse group of other biochemical elements influence bacterial cell mechanics, may be regulated by new cellular mechanisms, and may be triggered in different environmental contexts to enable cell adaptation and survival. This review summarizes the contributions that different biomolecular components of the cell wall (e.g., lipopolysaccharides, wall and lipoteichoic acids, lipid bilayers, peptidoglycan, and proteins) make to Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial cell mechanics. We discuss the contribution of individual proteins and macromolecular complexes in cell mechanics and the tools that make it possible to quantitatively decipher the biochemical machinery that contributes to bacterial cell mechanics. Advances in this area may provide insight into new biology and influence the development of antibacterial chemotherapies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Cell Membrane* / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane* / metabolism
  • Cell Wall* / chemistry
  • Cell Wall* / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / chemistry
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / metabolism
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria* / chemistry
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria* / metabolism
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / chemistry
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism
  • Microbial Viability
  • Peptidoglycan / chemistry
  • Peptidoglycan / metabolism
  • Teichoic Acids / chemistry
  • Teichoic Acids / metabolism

Substances

  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Teichoic Acids
  • lipoteichoic acid