alexa Freeze-substitution of gram-negative eubacteria: general cell morphology and envelope profiles.


Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology

Author(s): Graham LL, Harris R, Villiger W, Beveridge TJ, Graham LL, Harris R, Villiger W, Beveridge TJ

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Abstract Freeze-substitution was performed on strains of Escherichia coli, Pasteurella multocida, Campylobacter fetus, Vibrio cholerae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas putida, Aeromonas salmonicida, Proteus mirabilis, Haemophilus pleuropneumoniae, Caulobacter crescentus, and Leptothrix discophora with a substitution medium composed of 2\% osmium tetroxide and 2\% uranyl acetate in anhydrous acetone. A thick periplasmic gel ranging from 10.6 to 14.3 nm in width was displayed in E. coli K-12, K30, and His 1 (a K-12 derivative containing the K30 capsule genes), P. multocida, C. fetus, P. putida, A. salmonicida, H. pleuropneumoniae, and P. mirabilis. The other bacteria possessed translucent periplasms in which a thinner peptidoglycan layer was seen. Capsular polysaccharide, evident as electron-dense fibers radiating outward perpendicular to the cell surface, was observed on E. coli K30 and His 1 and P. mirabilis cells. A more random arrangement of fibers forming a netlike structure was apparent surrounding cells of H. pleuropneumoniae. For the first time a capsule, distinct from the sheath, was observed on L. discophora. In all instances, capsular polysaccharide was visualized in the absence of stabilizing agents such as homologous antisera or ruthenium red. Other distinct envelope structures were observed external to the outer membrane including the sheath of L. discophora and the S layers of A. salmonicida A450 and C. crescentus CB15A. We believe that the freeze-substitution technique presents a more accurate image of the structural organization of these cells and that it has revealed complex ultrastructural relationships between cell envelope constituents previously difficult to visualize by more conventional means of preparation.
This article was published in J Bacteriol and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology

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