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J Bacteriol. 1991 Jan;173(2):751-6.

Direct proof of a "more-than-single-layered" peptidoglycan architecture of Escherichia coli W7: a neutron small-angle scattering study.

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  • 1Robert Koch Institute of the Federal Health Office, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany.


A neutron small-angle scattering study was performed to determine the thickness and the scattering density profile of isolated peptidoglycan sacculi of Escherichia coli W7 in aqueous suspension (D2O). The maximum thickness (7 +/- 0.5 nm) of the sacculus from the exponential-phase cells was large enough to suggest the existence of a more-than-single-layered architecture. The experimental density profile across the thickness of the sacculus did not allow an unambiguous differentiation between a single-layered architecture characterized by completely extended peptide side chains projecting from the sugar strands or, alternatively, a partially triple layered structure. To resolve this ambiguity, sacculi were labeled with deuterated wall peptides. Comparison of the two experimental profiles indicated that the sacculus is more than single layered across its surface, with about 75 to 80% of its surface single layered and 20 to 25% triple layered.

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