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J Bacteriol. Aug 1987; 169(8): 3792–3800.
PMCID: PMC212468

Specialized cell surface structures in cellulolytic bacteria.


The cell surface topology of various gram-negative and -positive, anaerobic and aerobic, mesophilic and thermophilic, cellulolytic and noncellulolytic bacteria was investigated by scanning electron microscopic visualization using cationized ferritin. Characteristic protuberant structures were observed on cells of all cellulolytic strains. These structures appeared to be directly related to the previously described exocellular cellulase-containing polycellulosomes of Clostridium thermocellum YS (E. A. Bayer and R. Lamed, J. Bacteriol. 167:828-836, 1986). Immunochemical evidence and lectin-binding studies suggested a further correlation on the molecular level among cellulolytic bacteria. The results indicate that such cell surface cellulase-containing structures may be of general consequence to the bacterial interaction with and degradation of cellulose.

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