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Int Microbiol. 1998 Mar;1(1):19-26.

Structure and properties of the outer membranes of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis.

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Departamento de Microbiología, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


The brucellae are Gram-negative bacteria characteristically able to multiply facultatively within phagocytic cells and which cause a zoonosis of world-wide importance. This article reviews the structure and topology of the main components (lipopolysaccharide, native hapten polysaccharide, free lipids and proteins) of the outer membranes of Brucella abortus and B. melitensis, as well as some distinctive properties (permeability and interactions with cationic peptides) of these membranes. On these data, an outer membrane model is proposed in which, as compared to other Gram-negatives, there is a stronger hydrophobic anchorage for the lipopolysaccharide, free lipids, porin proteins and lipoproteins, and a reduced surface density of anionic groups, which could be partially or totally neutralized by ornithine lipids. This model accounts for the permeability of Brucella to hydrophobic permeants and for its resistance to the bactericidal oxygen-independent systems of phagocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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