• Growth Medium-Dependent Glycine Incorporation into the Peptidoglycan of Caulobacter crescentus.

      Takacs, Constantin N; Hocking, Jason; Cabeen, Matthew T; Bui, Nhat Khai; Poggio, Sebastian; Vollmer, Waldemar; Jacobs-Wagner, Christine; Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America. (2013)
      The peptidoglycan (PG) is a macromolecular component of the bacterial cell wall that maintains the shape and integrity of the cell. The PG of , unlike that of many other Gram-negative bacteria, has repeatedly been shown to contain significant amounts of glycine. This compositional peculiarity has been deemed an intrinsic characteristic of this species. By performing a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analysis of the PG by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS), we show here that glycine incorporation into the PG depends on the presence of exogenous glycine in the growth medium. High levels of glycine were detected at the fifth position of the peptide side chains of PG isolated from cells grown in the complex laboratory medium PYE or in defined medium (M2G) supplemented with casamino acids or glycine alone. In contrast, glycine incorporation was undetectable when cells were grown in M2G medium lacking glycine. Remarkably, glycine incorporation into peptidoglycan occurred even in the presence of low millimolar to sub-millimolar concentrations of free glycine. High glycine content in the PG had no obvious effects on growth rates, mode of PG incorporation or cell morphology. Hence, the PG is able to retain its physiological functions in cell growth and morphogenesis despite significant alterations in its composition, in what we deem to be unprecedented plasticity.