Cell wall branches, penicillin resistance and the secrets of the MurM protein

András Fiser, Sergio R. Filipe, Alexander Tomasz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Production of low-affinity forms of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), although essential, is not sufficient to protect pneumococci against the inhibitory action of penicillin. Resistance also requires the newly identified protein MurM which, together with MurN, is involved with the synthesis of short peptide branches in the pneumococcal cell wall. Cells in which murM was inactivated produced cell walls without branches and also completely lost penicillin resistance. To understand these surprising observations a 3D-model of MurM was constructed, which helped to put into structural context several of the biochemical and genetic observations made about this protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-553
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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