SUMMARY: The fine structure of the plasma membrane and the mesosomes of was studied by means of serial sections of aerial mycelium fixed in glutaraldehyde and osmium tetroxide, by negative staining of intact cells and cell fragments, and by freeze-etching. The plasma membrane as seen in freezeetch preparations showed the typical features of bacterial plasma membranes: it was densely covered with small particles when viewed from the convex side. In serial sections it was possible to follow corresponding ‘unit membranes’, suggesting the existence of spaces bounded by extensive lamellae. Negative staining revealed stacks of tubes and also spaces confined by lamellae. Vesicles were only rarely encountered. In freeze-etch preparations the mesosomes appeared mostly as clusters of vesicles, but lamellar and tubular regions were also found. It is suggested that ‘the mesosome’ with a uniform anatomy does not exist but that lamellae, tubes and vesicles arise from each other.


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