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Components Outside the Cell Wall

  • Guntram Seltmann
  • Otto Holst
Chapter

Abstract

Many bacteria are surrounded by an extracellular layer, the bacterial capsule. This compartment is a gel-like highly hydrated mesh mostly formed by polysaccharides (capsular polysaccharide = CPS). It covers the underlying cell wall components and is at least physically connected with it. Capsules are found in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and create an additional protection, which in many cases results in an elevated virulence. Encapsulated bacteria may cause severe diseases: e.g. meningitis, septicemia, pyelonephritis, osteomyelitis, pneumonia or septic arthritis. Capsules may vary in their thickness from one strain to the other and even in different isolates of the same strain; on the one hand it can be extremely thin, on the other, it may surpass that of the cell wall by more than 1 order of magnitude.

Keywords

Outer Membrane Cytoplasmic Membrane Basal Body Polysaccharide Chain Encapsulate Bacterium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guntram Seltmann
    • 1
  • Otto Holst
    • 2
  1. 1.WernigerodeGermany
  2. 2.Zentrum für Medizin und BiowissenschaftenForschungszentrum BorstelBorstelGermany

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