Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 4575 Views Nov 5, 2019
The peptidoglycan sacculus, or cell wall, is what defines bacterial cell shape. Cell wall composition can be best characterized at the molecular level by digesting the peptidoglycan murein polymer into its muropeptide subunits and quantifying the abundance of muropeptides using high-pressure liquid chromatography. Certain features of the cell wall including muropeptide composition, glycan strand length, degree of crosslinking, type of crosslinking and other peptidoglycan modifications can be quantified using this approach. Well-established protocols provide us with highly-resolved and quantitatively reproducible chromatographic data, which can be used to investigate bacterial cell wall composition under a variety of environmental or genetic perturbations. The method described here enables the purification of muropeptide samples, their quantification by HPLC, and fraction collection for peak identification by mass spectrometry. Although the methods for peptidoglycan purification and HPLC analysis have been previously published, our method includes important details on how to re-equilibrate the column between runs to allow for automated analysis of multiple samples.
0 Q&A 6590 Views Mar 20, 2018
Peptidoglycan encases the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane to protect the cell from lysis due to the turgor. The final steps of peptidoglycan synthesis require a membrane-anchored substrate called lipid II, in which the peptidoglycan subunit is linked to the carrier lipid undecaprenol via a pyrophosphate moiety. Lipid II is the target of glycopeptide antibiotics and several antimicrobial peptides, and is degraded by ‘attacking’ enzymes involved in bacterial competition to induce lysis. Here we describe two protocols using thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), respectively, to assay the digestion of lipid II by phosphatases such as Colicin M or the LXG toxin protein TelC from Streptococcus intermedius. The TLC method can also monitor the digestion of undecaprenyl (pyro)phosphate, whereas the HPLC method allows to separate the di-, mono- or unphosphorylated disaccharide pentapeptide products of lipid II.
0 Q&A 8256 Views Aug 5, 2017
We describe here in detail a high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS)-based method to determine N-acetylmuramic acid-6-phosphate (MurNAc-6P) in bacterial cell extracts. The method can be applied to both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, and as an example we use Escherichia coli cells in this study. Wild type and mutant cells are grown for a defined time in a medium of choice and harvested by centrifugation. Then the cells are disintegrated and soluble cell extracts are generated. After removal of proteins by precipitation with acetone, the extracts are analyzed by HPLC-MS. Base peak chromatograms of wild type and mutant cell extracts are used to determine a differential ion spectrum that reveals differences in the MurNAc-6P content of the two samples. Determination of peak areas of extracted chromatograms of MurNAc-6P ((M-H)- = 372.070 m/z in negative ion mode) allows quantifying MurNAc-6P levels, that are used to calculate recycling rates of the MurNAc-content of peptidoglycan.
0 Q&A 11929 Views Aug 5, 2017
Peptidoglycan (murein) is a vital component of the cell wall of nearly all bacteria, composed of sugars linked by short peptides. This protocol describes the purification of macromolecular peptidoglycan from cultured bacteria and the analysis of enzyme-digested peptidoglycan fragments using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Digested peptidoglycan fragments can be identified by mass spectrometry, or predicted by comparing retention times with other published chromatograms. The quantitative nature of this method allows for the measurement of changes to peptidoglycan composition between different species of bacteria, growth conditions, or mutations. This method can determine the overall architecture of peptidoglycan, such as peptide stem length, the extent of cross-linking, and modifications. Muropeptide analysis has been used to study the function of peptidoglycan-associated proteins and the mechanisms by which bacteria acquire antibiotic resistance.

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