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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2005;59:299-328.

Intracellular compartmentation in planctomycetes.

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  • 1School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.


The phylum Planctomycetes of the domain Bacteria consists of budding, peptidoglycan-less organisms important for understanding the origins of complex cell organization. Their significance for cell biology lies in their possession of intracellular membrane compartmentation. All planctomycetes share a unique cell plan, in which the cell cytoplasm is divided into compartments by one or more membranes, including a major cell compartment containing the nucleoid. Of special significance is Gemmata obscuriglobus, in which the nucleoid is enveloped in two membranes to form a nuclear body that is analogous to the structure of a eukaryotic nucleus. Planctomycete compartmentation may have functional physiological roles, as in the case of anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing anammox planctomycetes, in which the anammoxosome harbors specialized enzymes and is wrapped in an envelope possessing unique ladderane lipids. Organisms in phyla other than the phylum Planctomycetes may possess compartmentation similar to that of some planctomycetes, as in the case of members of the phylum Poribacteria from marine sponges.

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