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J Biotechnol. 2003 Sep 4;104(1-3):55-67.

Mycomembrane and S-layer: two important structures of Corynebacterium glutamicum cell envelope with promising biotechnology applications.

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Unité de Génétique Moléculaire, Institut Pasteur, 25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.


Corynebacteria belong to a distinct Gram-positive group of bacteria including mycobacteria and nocardia, which are characterized by the presence of mycolic acids in their cell wall. These bacteria share the property of having an unusual cell envelope structural organization close to Gram-negative bacteria. In addition to the inner membrane, the cell envelope is constituted of a thick arabinogalactan-peptidoglycan polymer covalently linked to an outer lipid layer, which is mainly composed of mycolic acids and probably organized in an outer membrane like structure. In some species, the cell is covered by a crystalline surface layer composed of a single protein species, which is anchored in the outer membrane like barrier. An increasing number of reports have led to a better understanding of the structure of the cell wall of Corynebacterium glutamicum. These works included the characterization of several cell wall proteins like S-layer protein and porins, genetic and biochemical characterization of mycolic acids biosynthesis, ultrastructural description of the cell envelope, and chemical analysis of its constituents. All these data address new aspects regarding cell wall permeability towards macromolecules and amino acids but also open new opportunities for biotechnology applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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