Teichoic acids

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Teichoic acids are polymers of glycerol or ribitol joined by phosphates and are found in the cell walls of gram-positive bacteria[1].

Teichoic acids consist of lipoteichoic acids (LTAs) and wall teichoic acids (WTAs). WTAs enable the bacterial cell to bind to metal cations outside the cell, such as Ca2+. This is said to affect the repulsion between neighbouring phosphate groups by decreasing the negative charge repulsion caused by the negatively charged oxygen present. By doing so, the WTAs alter the cell walls integrity without influencing the pH gradient in the cell wall[2]. Another metal cation they can bind to is Mg2+, this is an important ion for bacterial cells as they aid in the synthesis of peptidoglycan so are vital in the protection and maintenance of the bacterium[3].


  1. J M. Willey, L M. Sherwood, C J. Woolverton. Prescott, Harley, and Klein’s Microbiology. 7th Ed, New York : The McGraw-Hill Companies. 2008.
  2. S Brown, J P. S Maria Jr., and S Walker. Wall Teichoic Acids of Gram-Positive Bacteria. Annual Review of Microbiology. 2013; 67: 313-336.
  3. Thomas KJ III, Rice CV. Revised Model of Calcium and Magnesium Binding to the Bacterial Cell Wall. 2014 [cited 25/11/18]; Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4299761/
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