From growth to autolysis: the murein hydrolases in Escherichia coli

Arch Microbiol. 1995 Oct;164(4):243-54. doi: 10.1007/BF02529958.


Murein hydrolases cleave bonds in the bacterial exoskeleton, the murein (peptidoglycan) sacculus, a covalently closed bag-shaped polymer made of glycan strands that are crosslinked by peptides. During growth and division of a bacterial cell, these enzymes are involved in the controlled metabolism of the murein sacculus. Murein hydrolases are believed to function as pacemaker enzymes for the enlargement of the murein sacculus since opening of bonds in the murein net is needed to allow the insertion of new subunits into the sacculus. Furthermore, they are responsible for splitting the septum during cell division. The murein turnover products that are released during growth are further degraded by these (1 --> 6)-anhydromuramic acid derivatives by an intramolecular transglycosylation reaction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriolysis / physiology
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase / metabolism*


  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase