Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract In both freeze-etched and critical-point dried preparations examined by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, respectively, the outer surfaces of the cells of Spirillum serpens VHL assume a wrinkled appearance 10–15 min after challenge by Bdellovibrion bacteriovorus 109D. This wrinkling effect is believed (on circumstantial evidence) to be caused by the bdellovibrio's disruption of the cell wall lipoprotein of the Spirillum. With the exception of those topological changes caused by wrinkling, the outer membrane of the Spirillum cell wall retains a normal appearance as viewed in freeze-etched preparations, even after the Spirillum cell has been converted into a bdelloplast. Although the peptidoglycan layer of the Spirillum cell presumably is weakened somewhat by the invading Bdellovibrio, evidence obtained from freeze-fractured preparations of Spirillum bdelloplasts suggests that the peptidoglycan remains as a discrete cell wall layer, even though the Spirillum cell wall apparently has lost much of its rigidity. That the peptidoglycan backbone remains essentially intact, even after the Spirillum cell has been entered by the Bdellovibrio, is supported by the observation that the soluble amino sugar content of the culture medium, as determined by chemical analysis, does not rise even 5.0 h after the association of the Bdellovibrio with the Spirillum has begun.
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