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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Jun;9(6):414-26. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2576.

The archaeal cell envelope.

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Molecular Biology of Archaea, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse 10, D-35043 Marburg, Germany.


At first glance, archaea and bacteria look alike; however, the composition of the archaeal cell envelope is fundamentally different from the bacterial cell envelope. With just one exception, all archaea characterized to date have only a single membrane and most are covered by a paracrystalline protein layer. This Review discusses our current knowledge of the composition of the archaeal cell surface. We describe the wide range of cell wall polymers, O- and N-glycosylated extracellular proteins and other cell surface structures that archaea use to interact with their environment.

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