A lytic transglycosylase connects bacterial focal adhesion complexes to the peptidoglycan cell wall. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Gram-negative bacterium Myxococcus xanthus glides on solid surfaces. Dynamic bacterial focal adhesion complexes (bFACs) convert proton motive force from the inner membrane into mechanical propulsion on the cell surface. It is unclear how the mechanical force transmits across the rigid peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall. Here we show that AgmT, a highly abundant lytic PG transglycosylase homologous to Escherichia coli MltG, couples bFACs to PG. Coprecipitation assay and single-particle microscopy reveal that the gliding motors fail to connect to PG and thus are unable to assemble into bFACs in the absence of an active AgmT. Heterologous expression of E. coli MltG restores the connection between PG and bFACs and thus rescues gliding motility in the M. xanthus cells that lack AgmT. Our results indicate that bFACs anchor to AgmT-modified PG to transmit mechanical force across the PG cell wall.

published proceedings

  • bioRxiv

author list (cited authors)

  • Carbo, C. R., Faromiki, O. G., & Nan, B.

complete list of authors

  • Carbo, Carlos Ramirez||Faromiki, Olalekan G||Nan, Beiyan

publication date

  • April 2024