Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Outer Membrane

  • Ricardo Amils
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1131-2


The outer membrane is a phospholipid- and polysaccharide-containing membrane that lies external to the peptidoglycan layer of gram-negative bacteria. This layer is effectively a second lipid bilayer, but in addition to phospholipids and proteins found in the cytoplasmic membrane, it contains polysaccharides. It is a rather complex structure only found in gram-negative bacteria. The lipid and polysaccharides are linked to form a lipopolysaccharide complex. For this reason, the outer membrane is often called the lipopolysaccharide layer (LPS). In the outer membrane, LPS associates with several proteins to form the outer leaflet of the membrane. Lipoproteins are also found in the inner leaflet of the outer membrane and their function is to anchor the membrane to the peptidoglycan. In the outer part of the membrane lipopolysaccharides replace phospholipids. Thus, although the outer membrane can be considered a lipid bilayer, its structure and function is quite distinct from...


Small Molecule Outer Membrane Bioorganic Chemistry Outer Layer Cellular Function 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia MolecularUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain