Thiol-disulphide oxidoreductases catalyse the formation or breakage of disulphide bonds to control the red-ox status of a variety of proteins. Their activity is compartmentalized, as exemplified by the distinct roles these enzymes play in the cytoplasm and periplasm of Gram-negative bacteria. In this issue of Molecular Microbiology, an article from Lars Hederstedt and collaborators at Lund University sheds light on another member of this superfamily of proteins, the thioredoxin-like protein StoA from Bacillus subtilis. Interestingly, StoA function is required in yet another subcellular compartment: the intermembrane space that separates forespores from mother cells in endospore-forming bacteria. Specifically, this study demonstrates that the high-molecular-weight penicillin-binding protein SpoVD, which contains two exposed cysteine residues and whose extracellular domain is located in the intermembrane space, is a substrate of StoA. As formation of a disulphide bond most likely inactivates SpoVD activity, the converse breakage of that bond in a process catalysed by StoA appears to be the trigger that initiates peptidoglycan synthesis in sporulating cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology