Genetic Basis for Activity Differences Between Vancomycin and Glycolipid Derivatives of Vancomycin

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Science  12 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5541, pp. 361-364
DOI: 10.1126/science.1063611

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Small molecules that affect specific protein functions can be valuable tools for dissecting complex cellular processes. Peptidoglycan synthesis and degradation is a process in bacteria that involves multiple enzymes under strict temporal and spatial regulation. We used a set of small molecules that inhibit the transglycosylation step of peptidoglycan synthesis to discover genes that help to regulate this process. We identified a gene responsible for the susceptibility of Escherichia coli cells to killing by glycolipid derivatives of vancomycin, thus establishing a genetic basis for activity differences between these compounds and vancomycin.

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