The structural properties of the cell envelopes of Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepraemurium were investigated by freeze-fracture, freeze-etching, and negative-staining techniques. Freeze-fracture split the cell wall and exposed the internal features of the peptidoglycolipid mycosidic filamentous network. The cell membrane was also split into two asymmetric faces. The external fracture face was characterized by linear arrays of intramembranous particles, whereas the protoplasmic fracture face showed randomly distributed clusters of particulate entities. Comparative analysis of the ultrastructural features observed in M. leprae and M. lepraemurium indicated that the organization of the cell envelope in these two species differed particularly with respect to the amount and complexity of the superficial peptidoglycolipid and mycosidic integument, which is poorly developed in the mycobacterium responsible for human disease.