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Penicillin-binding proteins and cell shape in E. coli

Abstract

β-LACTAM antibiotics (penicillins and cephalosporins) have attracted considerable attention as probes of cell growth and division1,2. Although extensive studies have been made on both penicillin-sensitive enzymes and penicillin binding proteins3, there has been no clear indication of the role of any of these components in the effects of β-lactam antibiotics on cell growth. We report the identification of a minor penicillin binding protein which we believe to be the target at which the amidinopenicillanic acid designated FL1060 (ref. 4) acts to affect the shape of Escherichia coli. This is the first example of the identification of a penicillin binding protein with an essential and defined role in bacterial cell growth.

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