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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1976 Dec 14;455(3):889-99.

Release of outer membrane fragments from normally growing Escherichia coli.


A complex containing lipopolysaccharides, phospholipids and proteine separated from the medium by gelfiltration on Sephadex G-200 or by centrifugation. Electron microscopy revealed that this material is released as vesicles and membrane fragements. To determine the origin of these fragments, they were compared to outer and cytoplasmic membranes with respect to keto-deoxyoctulosonic acid, phospholipid, and protein content, phospholipid composition, fatty acid composition, protein distribution on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels, buoyant density, and content of several membrane marker enzymes. The results of this comparison indicate that the membrane fragments found in the culture supernatant of normally growing Escherichia coli consist of practically unmodified outer membrane. Possible mechanisms as to the cause of the release of outer membrane fragments, and its relationship to cell-division, are discussed.

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