Chlamydia trachomatis serovar L2 and Chlamydia muridarum, which do not express FtsZ, undergo polarized cell division. During division, peptidoglycan assembles at the pole of dividing Chlamydia trachomatis cells where daughter cell formation occurs, and peptidoglycan regulates at least two distinct steps in the polarized division of Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia muridarum. Cells treated with inhibitors that prevent peptidoglycan synthesis or peptidoglycan crosslinking by penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2) are unable to initiate polarized division, while cells treated with inhibitors that prevent peptidoglycan crosslinking by penicillin-binding protein 3 (PBP3/FtsI) initiate polarized division, but the process arrests at an early stage of daughter cell growth. Consistent with their distinct roles in polarized division, peptidoglycan organization is different in cells treated with PBP2 and PBP3-specific inhibitors. Our analyses indicate that the sequential action of PBP2 and PBP3 drives changes in peptidoglycan organization that are essential for the polarized division of these obligate intracellular bacteria. Furthermore, the roles we have characterized for PBP2 and PBP3 in regulating specific steps in chlamydial cell division have not been described in other bacteria.
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