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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The murMN operon: a functional link between antibiotic resistance and antibiotic tolerance in Streptococcuspneumoniae.

Inactivation of the recently identified murMN operon in penicillin-resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae was shown already to cause two major effects: elimination of branched-structured muropeptides from the cell wall and complete loss of penicillin resistance. We now show that cells with inactivated murMN also have a third phenotype: an increased susceptibility to lysis when exposed to low concentrations of fosfomycin, d-cycloserine, vancomycin, and nisin, indicating a wide-spectrum hypersensitivity to inhibitors of both early and late stages of cell wall biosynthesis. Mutants of murMN also lysed faster than the parental strain when treated with the detergent deoxycholate. Several different alleles of murM cloned in plasmid pLS578 and introduced into a murM deletion mutant of the penicillin-resistant strain Pen6 were able to reconstitute each one of the three mutant phenotypes: the highly branched cell wall structure, original high level of penicillin resistance, and normal sensitivity to lysis. In a penicillin-susceptible strain the same experiments caused increased concentration of cell wall branched peptides and suppression of sensitivity to antibiotic induced lysis. The observations suggest that the murMN operon plays a key role in the regulation of a stress-response pathway that can be triggered by perturbation of cell wall biosynthesis in S. pneumoniae.[1]


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