Answer to Question #22181 in Organic Chemistry for Jonathan
What is peptidoglycan? Give its chemical composition.
Peptidoglycan, also known as murein, is a polymer consisting of sugars and amino acids that forms a mesh-like layer outside the plasma membrane of bacteria (but not Archaea), forming the cell wall. The sugar component consists of alternating residues of β-(1,4) linked N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylmuramic acid. Attached to the N-acetylmuramic acid is a peptide chain of three to five amino acids. The peptide chain can be cross-linked to the peptide chain of another strand forming the 3D mesh-like layer. Some Archaea have a similar layer of pseudopeptidoglycan or pseudomurein, where the sugar residues are β-(1,3) linked N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetyltalosaminuronic acid. That is why the cell wall of Archaea is insensitive to lysozyme.