One-Pot Two-Step Metabolic Labeling of Teichoic Acids and Direct Labeling of Peptidoglycan Reveals Tight Coordination of Both Polymers Inserted into Pneumococcus Cell Wall

ACS Chem Biol. 2018 Aug 17;13(8):2010-2015. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.8b00559. Epub 2018 Jul 23.


A method for labeling teichoic acids in the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae has been developed using a one-pot two-step metabolic labeling approach. The essential nutriment choline modified with an azido-group was incorporated and exposed at the cell surface more rapidly than it reacted with the strain promoted azide alkyne cycloaddition (SPAAC) partner also present in the medium. Once at the cell surface on teichoic acids, coupling of the azido group could then occur within 5 min by the bio-orthogonal click reaction with a DIBO-linked fluorophore. This fast and easy method allowed pulse-chase experiments and was combined with another fluorescent labeling approach to compare the insertion of teichoic acids with peptidoglycan synthesis with unprecedented temporal resolution. It has revealed that teichoic acid and peptidoglycan processes are largely concomitant, but teichoic acid insertion persists later at the division site.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkynes / chemistry
  • Alkynes / metabolism
  • Azides / chemistry
  • Azides / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / chemistry*
  • Choline / analogs & derivatives
  • Choline / chemistry
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Click Chemistry
  • Cycloaddition Reaction
  • Cyclooctanes / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Molecular Probes / chemistry*
  • Molecular Probes / metabolism
  • Peptidoglycan / biosynthesis
  • Peptidoglycan / chemistry*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / chemistry
  • Teichoic Acids / biosynthesis
  • Teichoic Acids / chemistry*


  • 1-azidoethyl-choline
  • Alkynes
  • Azides
  • Cyclooctanes
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Molecular Probes
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Teichoic Acids
  • Choline