Controlling peptidoglycan synthesis from within the cell
Conferences and traveling are brilliant ways to meet new people and to commence new collaborations, as well as cementing old friendships. My lab started working on GpsB in earnest about 5 years ago after having a chat with Sven Halbedel over a beer (or two...) in the garden of the Grand Hotel La Pace in Montecatini Terme, Italy.
Figure 1. We use 3D printed models of protein structures as a teaching tool and in outreach activities. Here the GpsB protein surface is coloured by electrostatics, red for negative and blue for positive, and the little silver discs are magnets (left hand image) that help stick the peptidoglycan synthase peptide to GpsB. There is perfect shape and charge complementarity that explains the exquisite selectivity of the interaction (right hand image). Simpler colour schemes are also readily available (hence the orange peptide) and you should contact Darren Gowers at www.molecmodels.co.uk if you are interested in 3D-printed models of your own.
The upshot of these face-to-face meetings is this paper [https://rdcu.be/bg9k9], published today by Nature Communications . However, and at the risk of sounding like a Remoaner, this story would not have been possible without free movement of people, especially early career researchers, across Europe’s borders. Sven had been a post-doc in Newcastle when we first met before returning home to Germany; Jeanine left Germany to come to the UK to work in London and Federico Corona left sunny Sardinia for the northern cool of Newcastle. I do worry what influence the ‘hostile environment’ and the events yet to unfold after 29th March 2019, but after last night's calamitous defeat for the Government's Brexit plans who knows, will have on the UK’s ability to attract bright young minds to live amongst us as equals, work in our Universities and produce collaborative papers such as this [https://rdcu.be/bg9k9]....
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2. Rismondo J, Cleverley RM, Lane HV, Großhennig S, Steglich A, Möller L, Mannala GK, Hain T, Lewis RJ, Halbedel S. (2016) Structure of the bacterial cell division determinant GpsB and its interaction with penicillin binding proteins. Molecular Microbiology 99, 978-998.
3. Cleverley RM, Rismondo J, Lockhart-Cairns MP, van Bentum PT, Egan A, Vollmer W, Halbedel S, Baldock C, Breukink E, Lewis RJ (2016) Subunit arrangement in GpsB, a regulator of cell wall biosynthesis. Microbial Drug Resistance 22, 446-60.
4.Cleverley RM, Rutter ZJ, Rismondo J, Corona F, Tsui H-CT, Alatawi FA, Daniel RA, Halbedel S, Massidda O, Winkler ME, Lewis RJ (2019) The cell cycle regulator GpsB functions as cytosolic adaptor for multiple cell wall enzymes. Nature Communications 10, 261.