1887

Abstract

SUMMARY: Electron microscopy on thin sections of three different extremely halophilic Halobacterium species showed that their cell envelopes were of similar general construction: an inner membrane and an outer layer. The outer layer stains most strongly in the outermost part. When the NaCl concentration of the environment was lowered from the optimal of 4·3 to 2·2 the outer layer of the cell envelope of strain 1 became frayed; in many cells a release of material from the outer layer appeared to take place. When the cells were exposed to distilled water the outer layer of the envelope appeared to dissolve completely and the cell membrane disintegrated into tiny flakes. Fragments of the cell envelope produced by mechanical disintegration of the cells in 4·3 -NaCl formed closed vesicles very rapidly; some of the cytoplasmic material became trapped inside the vesicles. Detergents appeared to slow down the closing of the vesicles and also to cause a release of material from the outer layer of the cell envelope. The cell envelope vesicles were mainly composed of protein and lipid; their content of amino sugar was low compared with the cell envelope of other Gram-negative bacteria. The cell envelope vesicle also contained nucleic acids; most of these were probably parts of the cytoplasmic material trapped inside the vesicles. The amino acid composition showed that the protein of the cell envelope vesicles was quite acidic, consistent with the contention that high concentrations of sodium ions stabilize the cell envelopes of these organisms by neutralizing the negative charges of the protein. Upon centrifugation at high speed of the lysate obtained by dialysis of the cell envelope vesicles against distilled water, the fragments of the cell membrane sedimented whereas most of the protein, presumably from the outer layer of the cell envelope, stayed in the supernatant fraction. Carotenoids and cytochromes were contained in the sediment with the membrane fragments. Most of the amino sugar-containing components stayed in the supernatant fraction; in the presence of 10–25 salt most of the amino sugar-containing components sediment with the membrane fragments.

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/content/journal/micro/10.1099/00221287-55-3-325
1969-03-01
2021-10-16
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