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Isolation, Composition, and Structure of Membrane of Listeria monocytogenes1

  • B. K. Ghosh
  • K. K. Carroll
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1968
  • Biology


The plasma membrane of Listeria monocytogenes strain 42 was prepared by osmotic lysis of protoplasts with tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane (Tris) buffer, pH 8.2, containing MgCl2 and glucose, followed by washing with NaCl and MgCl2 in Tris buffer. Electron microscopy showed that the preparation was not contaminated with cytoplasmic material. The membrane preparation was composed of 55 to 60% protein, 1.5% ribonucleic acid, 0.1% deoxyribonucleic acid, 1.3 to 2.3% carbohydrate, 0.17 to 0.38% amino sugar, 0.2 to 0.4% rhamnose, 3.5 to 4.0% phosphorus, 10.5 to 12.0% nitrogen, and 30 to 35% lipid. Amino acid composition of the washed membrane showed some variation from that of the whole cells. Sulfur-containing amino acids were not present in the membrane hydrolysate. The membrane carbohydrate contained glucose, galactose, ribose, and arabinose. The membrane lipid was 80 to 85% phospholipid and 15 to 20% neutral lipid. The lipid contained 2.3 to 3.0% phosphorus, 2.5 to 3.0% carbohydrate, and a very small amount of nitrogen (0.2 to 0.3%). The phospholipid was of the phosphatidyl glycerol type. Electron micrographs of the washed membrane showed three layers. The outer and inner layers varied in thickness from 25 to 37 A and the middle layer from 20 to 25 A. The total thickness varied between 85 and 100 A. These preparations contained many vesicles which stained heavily with lead citrate. Some vesicles were also attached to the protoplast ghosts in the form of extrusions or intrusions, or both. Membrane preparations obtained by lysis of protoplasts in the absence of MgCl2 were fragmented and contained less lipid (20 to 22%) and ribonucleic acid (0.3 to 0.5%) than preparations prepared with MgCl2.

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