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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

M. Sloan Siegrist

Second Advisor

Yasu S. Morita

Third Advisor

Peter Chien

Fourth Advisor

Natividad Ruiz

Subject Categories

Biochemistry | Microbial Physiology | Organic Chemistry


The bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan is a conserved component of the bacterial envelope that is essential for morphogenesis and survival, making it an exceptional drug target. With a multitude of cellular shapes, different bacterial species have characteristic subcellular sites of peptidoglycan synthesis that they must carefully maintain for shape, surface integrity and, ultimately, viability. In this work, I studied and targeted cell wall synthesis using prokaryotic models such as mycobacteria, a group of bacteria that include animal and human pathogens, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. In the first part, I found that peptidoglycan-marking probes report different metabolic activities in mycobacteria, and that these organisms can grow peptidoglycan differently than traditionally thought. Later, I describe how the pole and lateral-growing Mycobacterium smegmatis and E. coli, respectively, partition their peptidoglycan synthesis within plasma membrane compartments and identify key elements that mediate this organization. And finally, I designed and tested different strategies to tackle the envelope of S. aureus.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.