BACTERIAL STRUCTURE

Microbes are grouped under Protista, which is further divided into the Eukaryotes and the Prokaryotes. Eukaryotes comprise the Algae, Protozoa, Fungi and the Slime Molds. Prokaryotes comprise the Bacteria and the Blue green Algae.

PROKARYOTES These are single-celled organisms, which have a 70S ribosomes, whereas the eukaryotes have the 80 S ribosomes. These are important since certain antibiotics target the 70 S ribosomes and affect protein synthesis. Prokaryotes have a naked, single, circular chromosome of double-stranded DNA. There is no true nucleus, sine they do not have a nuclear membrane. Also, their DNA does not have histones. Histones are proteins which have no enzymatic activity, but are involved in DNA packaging. There are five types: H1, H2A, H2B, H3 and H4. Prokaryotes also lack membrane-bound organelles. They have structures such as the flagella, pili, fimbriae and a cell wall.

BACTERIAL NOMENCLATURE The names always have the genus and the species name (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus). These namescome about due to the bacteria’s morphology, biochemical properties and metabolic differences. The classification has become more detailed now since the bacteria’s immunologic and genetic characteristics are included. Antibiotic sensitivity, animal pathogenicity and bacteriophage typing, especially in epidemics, are also a means of classifying bacteria. For clinician’s, the most important classification would be based on Gram’s stain, the morphology and the metabolic characteristics.

CELL ENVELOPE The cell envelope is defined as all the layers that enclose the cytosol of a bacterium. The cell wall is the peptidoglycan layer ONLY . Gram (+) 2 layers: cytoplasmic membrane membrane Thick peptidoglycan layer 30A) (100-800 A) Gram (-) 3 layers: cytoplasmic thin PG layer (20-

Techoic acid None None None None

None Endotoxin/Lipid A Periplasmic space Porins Murein

The cytoplasmic membrane is similar for the Gram (+) and Gram (-) bacteria. It is a lipid bilayer, which is made up of lipids and proteins. All the lipid components are amphipathic: the polar had interacts with the aqueous environment, while thetails interacts with one another to form the interior of the bilayer. Unlike animal cytoplasmic membrane, bacteria do NOT have cholesterol in their cytoplasmic membrane. It does have 70 % protein, 2030% lipid and small amounts of carbohydrates. It also has embedded proteins, which aid in its function. Mesosomes, or invaginations in the cytoplasmic membrane, maybe the site of DNA replication. The functions of the cytoplasmic membrane are: 1. Osmotic barrier 2. Active transport of nutrients 3. DNA attachment site for nucleoid and plasmids

4. Iron uptake via the siderophores 5. Protein export (bacteria do not have Golgi apparatus and ER) 6. Site of ETC (bacteria do not have mitochondria) CELL WALL This is comprised by the peptidoglycan layer ONLY, which in turn, is made up of repeating disaccharides with 4 amino acids in a side chain. These amino acid side chains covalently bind to other amino acids from the chain beside it, thus crosslinkages are formed. The 4 amino acids are: 1. D-glutamic acid 2. D-alanine 3. Diaminopimelic acid 4. L-alanine for Gram (-) and L-lysine for Gram (+) Functions of the PG layer: 1. Shape 2. Barrier 3. Sieve 4. Prevents lysis 5. Aids In dessification The PG layer is important in Grams stain. TECHOIC ACID This is an important polysaccharide in the Gram (+) cell wall since it acts as an antigenic determinant. It is also called the virulence factor.

GRAM (-) CELL ENVELOPE has 3 layers. In addition to the cytoplasmic membrane and the cell wall, it has an outer membrane. The inner cytoplasmic membrane is also a lipid bilayer, and similar to that seen in

Gram (+) bacteria. It also has embedded proteins. This is followed by an extremely thin PG layer, which does not have techoic acid. It does have murein lipoprotein, which helps to bind the PG layer to the outer membrane. In between the cytoplsmic membrane and the PG layer is the periplasmic space, which contains the following; 1. Proteins 2. Peptidoglycans 3. Hydrolytic enzymes 4. Penicillinases The periplasmic space functions for osmoregulation.

Lastly, the Gram (-) bacteria have an outer membrane. In this outer membrane, there are the following: 1. Lipopolysaccharides 2. Somatic O antigen 3. Core polysaccharides 4. Porin proteins The lipopolysaccharide has 3 parts: O-specific side chain Core polysaccharide Lipid A The O-specific side chains are oligosaccharides and will always differ from one organism to another, so they can be used for antigenic determinants. Lipid A is a disaccharide as well, with multiple fatty acid tails. It is also known as endotoxin. Porins allow passage of nutrients. Porins and Lipid a are only found in Gram (-) bacteria.

The other cytoplasmic structures are: 1. The nucleoid region which consists of a circular chromosome of ds DNA, which lacks introns, histones, and a small nuclear membrane. 2. 70 S ribosomes which are the site of protein synthesis. 3. Polyamines, located in the ribosomes, and prevent dissociation 4. Cytoplasmic granules such as B-hydroxybutyrate (lipids), volutin granules (phosphate) and glycogen. 5. Flagella, which is composed of flagellin, a protein; it functions for locomotion and chemotaxis. Peritrichous- all over the bacteria’s surface Polar- at one end of the bacteria Lophotrichous-tuft of flagella at one end Amphitrichous-flagella at both ends 6. Capsule, or glycocalyx, which is the gelatin-like covering of the bacteria, and functions for: a. Adherence of the bacteria to human tissue b. Prevents phagocytosis c. Helps in serologic determination 7. Pili, similar to the flagella, but shorter; function for adherence, and for reproduction. This is mostly present in Gram (-) bacteria.
8. Spores or endospores, which is the bacteria in its cryptobiotic form. It is

dormant, with no metabolic activity; resistant to heat, freezing and dessication. The parts are the following: a. The core contains the chromosomes, proten and other materials for resuming growth. b. The cortex is a peptidoglycan layer, and is for osmotic stability.

c. The outermost layer is the coat, which is a keratin-like protein stabilized by disulfide bonds. The coat proteins are responsible for the resistance of the spores to chemicals. Spores are found in medically important gram (+) bacteria like Bacillus and Clostridium. Review Questions: What is the structure that totally encloses the cytosol of the bacterium? CELL ENVELOPE Gram (+) bacteria have endotoxins. FALSE The peptidoglycan layer is important in Grams stain. TRUE. Techoic acid is also known as the virulence factor. TRUE. Lipid A is also known as an exotoxin. FALSE.

SELF-STUDY Chapter 2: History and Scope, The Short Textbook of Medical Microbiology by Gupte.

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