Cell wall assembly in Staphylococcus aureus: proposed absence of secondary crosslinking reactions

David Gally, A.Ronald Archibald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distribution of muropeptides formed by muramidase digestion of peptidoglycan from Staphylococcus aureus H was determined by gel-filtration HPLC. The observed crosslinking pattern supports the conclusion that incorporation of peptidoglycan in S. aureus proceeds by a similar mechanism to that proposed earlier for Bacillus megaterium. In this mechanism single glycan-peptide strands are incorporated into the sacculus by crosslinking reactions that take place only between the monomer muropeptide units of the incoming glycopeptide and muropeptides present in the innermost region of wall at the wall-membrane interface: such crosslinking reactions take place only during incorporation and no other crosslinking reactions occur. This assembly process has now been termed restricted monomer addition. The present analysis shows that the distribution of muropeptides in S. aureus peptidoglycan is in excellent agreement with that predicted by this mechanism. We propose that cell wall assembly in S. aureus proceeds via restricted monomer addition without any requirement for the secondary crosslinking reactions that have been suggested to occur in this organism. The high degree of crosslinking in S. aureus, 80% in this study, may result mainly from the freedom for crosslinking provided by the pentaglycine bridge peptide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1907-13
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of General Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993


  • Cell Wall/metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Kinetics
  • Muramidase/metabolism
  • Peptidoglycan/metabolism
  • Staphylococcus aureus/metabolism


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