The bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan (PG) is a dynamic structure that is constantly synthesized, re-modeled and degraded during bacterial division and growth. Post-synthetic modifications modulate the action of endogenous autolysis during PG lysis and remodeling for growth and sporulation, but also they are a mechanism used by pathogenic bacteria to evade the host innate immune system. Modifica-tions of the glycan backbone are limited to the C-2 amine and the C-6 hydroxyl moieties of either Glc-NAc or MurNAc residues. This paper reviews the functional roles and properties of peptidoglycan de-N-acetylases (distinct PG GlcNAc and MurNAc deacetylases) and recent progress through genetic stud-ies and biochemical characterization to elucidate their mechanism of action, 3D structures, substrate specificities and biological functions. Since they are virulence factors in pathogenic bacteria, peptidogly-can deacetylases are potential targets for the design of novel antimicrobial agents.
Peptidoglycan deacetylases, cell wall, pathogenesis, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylmuramic, specificity, x-ray structures, an-timicrobial targets
Laboratory of Biochemistry, Institut Químic de Sarrià. University Ramon Llull, 08017 Barcelona