The salt-tolerant bacterium Halomonas elongata makes a variety of physiological adaptations in response to increases in the salt concentration of its growth medium. The cell walls become more compact and internally coherent. The overall lipid pattern shows an increased amount of negatively charged lipids. In addition, the peptidoglycan composition of H. elongata, although not changing in response to increased NaCl, contains the hydrophobic amino acid leucine which is unique among bacterial species. The results suggest that H. elongata is able to live in a wide variety of salt concentrations because it alters its cell physiology in ways which increase both structural integrity and the amount of less-mobile, "structured" cell water, making the cells less susceptible to NaCl-induced dehydration.