SUMMARY: In , a hexagonally arranged periodic structure was found in the outer membrane (OM), in addition to hexagonal lattices present in its external surface layer (S-layer). This crystalline OM protein (COMP) was present as patches on the concave fracture face (the outer leaflet) of the OM in freeze-fractured cells. Occasionally, hexagonally arranged structures could also be seen on the convex fracture face of the OM as ‘fingerprints’ of the COMP. The OM proteins were isolated and analysed by gel electrophoresis. The major band protein had an apparent molecular mass of 17 kDa. Whether the minor band proteins are also components in the structure of the COMP remains to be elucidated. Other oral Gram-negative anaerobic rods studied did not show any periodicity in their OM.


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