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Death Signal Cascade in Bacteria

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1365
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1365h

The bacterial cell wall is the target for many antibiotics, which disturb the balance between extracellular autolytic enzymes and the cell wall biosynthesis necessary for growth. Novak et al. screened a library of loss-of-function mutants for penicillin tolerance in order to pinpoint genes that are responsible for regulating bacterial autolysis. A two-component signaling system, VncR-VncS, was identified along with a 27-amino acid peptide (Pep27) and a membrane transporter, Vex. Secretion of endogenous Pep27 and detection by the VncR/S system was important for antibiotic-mediated cell death. Cells with disrupted pep27 and vex genes or disrupted vncS were tolerant to a broad range of antibiotics.—NG

Mol. Cell5, 49 (2000).

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