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Cell compartmentalisation in planctomycetes: novel types of structural organisation for the bacterial cell

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The organisation of cells of the planctomycete species Pirellula marina, Isosphaera pallida, Gemmata obscuriglobus, Planctomyces maris and "Candidatus Brocadia anammoxidans" was investigated based on ultrastructure derived from thin-sections of cryosubstituted cells, freeze-fracture replicas, and in the case of Gemmata obscuriglobus and Pirellula marina, computer-aided 3-D reconstructions from serial sections of cryosubstituted cells. All planctomycete cells display a peripheral ribosome-free region, termed here the paryphoplasm, surrounding the perimeter of the cell, and an interior region including any nucleoid regions as well as ribosome-like particles, bounded by a single intracytoplasmic membrane (ICM), and termed the pirellulosome in Pirellula species. Immunogold labelling and RNase-gold cytochemistry indicates that in planctomycetes all the cell DNA is contained wholly within the interior region bounded by the ICM, and the paryphoplasm contains no DNA but at least some of the cell's RNA. The ICM in Isosphaera pallida and Planctomyces maris is invaginated such that the paryphoplasm forms a major portion of the cell interior in sections, but in other planctomycetes it remains as a peripheral zone. In the anaerobic ammonium-oxidising ("anammox" process) chemoautotroph "Candidatus Brocadia anammoxidans" the interior region bounded by ICM contains a further internal single-membrane-bounded region, the anammoxosome. In Gemmata obscuriglobus, the interior ICM-bounded region contains the nuclear body, a double-membrane-bounded region containing the cell's nucleoid and all genomic DNA in addition to some RNA. Shared features of cell compartmentalisation in different planctomycetes are consistent with the monophyletic nature of the planctomycetes as a distinct division of the Bacteria. The shared organisational plan for the planctomycete cell constitutes a new type not known in cells of other bacteria.

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Lindsay, M.R., Webb, R.I., Strous, M. et al. Cell compartmentalisation in planctomycetes: novel types of structural organisation for the bacterial cell. Arch Microbiol 175, 413–429 (2001).

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