Emerging Knowledge of Regulatory Roles of D-Amino Acids in Bacteria
de Pedro, Miguel A.
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CitationCava, Felipe, Hubert Lam, Miguel A. de Pedro, and Matthew K. Waldor. 2010. Emerging knowledge of regulatory roles of D-amino acids in bacteria. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 68(5): 817-831.
AbstractThe D-enantiomers of amino acids have been thought to have relatively minor functions in biological processes. While L-amino acids clearly predominate in nature, D-amino acids are sometimes found in proteins that are not synthesized by ribosomes, and D-Ala and D-Glu are routinely found in the peptidoglycan cell wall of bacteria. Here, we review recent findings showing that D-amino acids have previously unappreciated regulatory roles in the bacterial kingdom. Many diverse bacterial phyla synthesize and release D-amino acids, including D-Met and D-Leu, which were not previously known to be made. These noncanonical D-amino acids regulate cell wall remodeling in stationary phase and cause biofilm dispersal in aging bacterial communities. Elucidating the mechanisms by which D-amino acids govern cell wall remodeling and biofilm disassembly will undoubtedly reveal new paradigms for understanding how extracytoplasmic processes are regulated as well as lead to development of novel therapeutics.
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