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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Nov;14(4):597-607.

Significance of plasmolysis spaces as markers for periseptal annuli and adhesion sites.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, BioCentrum Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


During hyperosmotic shock, the protoplast and stretched-out peptidoglycan layer first shrink together until the turgor pressure in the cell is relieved. Being non-compressible, the outer and inner membranes must fold their superfluous surfaces. While the protoplast contracts further, the inner membrane rearranges into plasmolysis spaces visible by phase-contrast microscopy. Two opposing theories predict a similar positioning of spaces in dividing cells and filaments: the 'periseptal annulus model', based on adhesion zones, involved in the predetermination of the division site; and a 'restricted, random model', based on physical properties of the protoplast. Strong osmotic shock causes retraction of the inner membrane over almost the entire surface forming the so-called 'Bayer bridges'. These tubular adhesion sites are preserved by chemical fixation, and can be destroyed by cryofixation and freeze-substitution of unfixed cells. Both the regular positioning of the plasmolysis spaces and the occurrence of tubular adhesion sites can be explained on the basis of physical properties of the membrane which necessitate rearrangements by membrane flow during shrinkage of the protoplast.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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