The unique cell wall of bacteria of the suborder Corynebacterineae is essential for the growth and survival of significant human pathogens including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae. Drug resistance in mycobacteria is an increasingly common development, making identification of new antimicrobials a priority. Recent studies have revealed potent anti-mycobacterial compounds, the benzothiazinones and dinitrobenzamides, active against DprE1, a subunit of decaprenylphosphoribose 2 epimerase which forms decaprenylphosphoryl arabinose, the arabinose donor for mycobacterial cell wall biosynthesis. Despite the exploitation of Mycobacterium smegmatis in the identification of DprE1 as the target of these new antimicrobials and its use in the exploration of mechanisms of resistance, the essentiality of DprE1 in this species has never been examined. Indeed, direct experimental evidence of the essentiality of DprE1 has not been obtained in any species of mycobacterium. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study we constructed a conditional gene knockout strain targeting the ortholog of dprE1 in M. smegmatis, MSMEG_6382. Disruption of the chromosomal copy of MSMEG_6382 was only possible in the presence of a plasmid-encoded copy of MSMEG_6382. Curing of this rescue plasmid from the bacterial..