You are on page 1of 21

Bacterial Morphology and Structure

Xiao-Kui Guo PhD

http://basic.shsmu.edu.cn/passw/micro2/index.asp
SIZE OF BACTERIA
Unit for measurement :
Micron or micrometer,m:
1m=10-3mm
Size:
Varies with kinds of bacteria, and
also related to their age and external
environment.

Cocci: sphere, 1m
Bacilli: rods , 0.5-1 m in width -3 m in length
Spiral bacteria: 1~3 m in length and 0.3-0.6 m in width
Structure of Bacteria
Essential structures
cell wall
cell membrane
Cytoplasm
nuclear material

Particular structures
capsule
flagella
pili
spore
1884: Christian Gram: First publication for the Gram stain method)
Editor's note: I would like to testify that I have found the Gram method to be one of
the best and for many cases the best method which I have ever used for staining
Schizomycetes.
Flagellum
Cell membrane Nucleoid Cell wall

Gram +

Pili
Gram -
Granule
Capsule
Cell (inner) membrane Outer membrane Gram, C. 1884. Ueber die isolirte
Farbung der Schizomyceten in
Ribosomes Cell wall Schnittund Trockenpraparaten.
Fortschritte der Medicin, Vol. 2, pages
Cell wall
Situation:
outmost portion.
15-30nm in
thickness, 10%-
25% of dry
weight.
Cell wall :Common peptidoglycan
layer
A backbone of N-acetyl glucosamine and N-acetylmuramic acid: Both discovered
in Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
A set of identical tetrapeptide side chain attached to N-acetyl-muramic acid:
different components and binding modes in Gram positive and Gram negative
bacteria.
A set of identical peptide cross bridges: only in Gram positive bacteria
Special components of
Gram positive cell wall
Teichoic acid

SPA / M POTEIN
pecial components of Gram
negative cell wall
Functions of Cell Wall
Maintaining the cell's characteristic shape- the rigid
wall compensates for the flexibility of the
phospholipid membrane and keeps the cell from
assuming a spherical shape
Countering the effects of osmotic pressure
Providing attachment sites for bacteriophages
Providing a rigid platform for surface appendages-
flagella, fimbriae, and pili all emanate from the
wall and extend beyond it
Play an essential role in cell division
Be the sites of major antigenic determinants of the
cell surface
Resistance of Antibiotics
Wall-less forms of
Bacteria.

When bacteria are treated with 1) enzymes that are lytic for
the cell wall e.g. lysozyme or 2) antibiotics that interfere with
biosynthesis of peptidoglycan, wall-less bacteria are often
produced.
Usually these treatments generate non-viable organisms.
Wall-less bacteria that can not replicate are referred to as
spheroplasts (when an outer membrane is present) or
protoplasts (if an outer membrane is not present).
Occasionally wall-less bacteria that can replicate are
generated by these treatments (L forms).
Cell
membrane

Site of biosynthesis of DNA, cell wall polymers and membrane lipids. Selective
permeability and transport of solutes into cells
Electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation
Excretion of hydrolytic exoenzymes
Mesosomes
Mesosomes are specialized structures
formed by convoluted inveigh-nations
of cytoplasmic membrane, and divided
into septal and lateral mesosome.
Cytoplasm
Composed largely of water, together with proteins, nucleic
acid, lipids and small amount of sugars and salts
Ribosomes: numerous, 15-20nm in diameter with 70S;
distributed throughout the cytoplasm; sensitive to
streptomycin and erythromycin site of protein synthesis

Plasmids: extrachromosomal
genetic elements
Inclusions: sources of stored
energy, e,g volutin
Plasmid Plasmids are
small circular/line extrachromosomal
double-stranded DNA molecules They
are capable of self-replication and contain
genes that confer some properties such as
antibiotic resistance virulence factors
Plasmids are not essential for cellular
survival.
Inclusions are
aggregates of various
Inclusions of
granulo compounds that are
normally involved in
Bacteria
se storing energy
reserves or building
blocks for the cell.
Inclusions accumilate
when a cell is grown
in the presence of
excess nutrients and
they are often
observed under
laboratory
Nucleus

Lacking nuclear
membrane, absence
of nucleoli, hence
known as nucleic
material or nucleoid,
one to several per
bacterium.
Capsules and slime layers Attachment
Protection from phagocytic
engulfment.
Resistance to drying.
Depot for waste products.
Reservoir for certain
nutrients.
protection

These are structures surrounding the outside of the cell envelope. They
usually consist of polysaccharide; however, in certain bacilli they are
composed of a polypeptide (polyglutamic acid). They are not essential to
cell viability and some strains within a species will produce a capsule,
whilst others do not. Capsules are often lost during in vitro culture.
Some bacterial species are mobile and possess
locomotory organelles - flagella. Flagella consist of a
number of proteins including flagellin Flagella
The diameter of a flagellum is thin, 20 nm, and
long with some having a length 10 times the
diameter of cell. Due to their small diameter,
flagella cannot be seen in the light microscope
unless a special stain is applied. Bacteria can have
one or more flagella arranged in clumps or spread
all over the cell.
Identification
of Bacteria
Pathogenesis
Motility of
bacteria

Monotrichate/Amphitrichate/Lophotrichate/Peritrichate
Pili

Pili are hair-like projections of the cell , They are


known to be receptors for certain bacterial viruses.
Chemical nature is pilin
Classification and Function

a. Common pili or fimbriae: fine , rigid numerous,


related to bacterial adhesion
b. Sex pili: longer and coarser, only 1-4, related to
bacterial conjugation
Endospores Identification of
(spores) Bacteria
Pathogenesis
Resistance

Dormant cell
Resistant to adverse Produced when starved
conditions Contain calcium dipicolinate
- high temperatures DPA, Dipicolinic acid
- organic solvents Bacillus and Clostridium
Methods
Microscope
Light Microscope
Electron Microscope
Darkfield Microscope
Phase Contrast Microscope
Fluorescence Microscope
Cofocal Microscope
Staining Methods
Simple staining;
Differential staining ( Gram
stain, Acid-fast stain),
Special staining( Negative stain,
Spore stain, Flagella stain)