Is the periplasm continuous in filamentous multicellular cyanobacteria?

Trends Microbiol. 2006 Oct;14(10):439-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2006.08.007. Epub 2006 Aug 23.


Filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria are multicellular organisms in which individual cells exchange nutrients and, presumably, regulatory molecules. Unknown mechanisms underlie this exchange. Classical electron microscopy shows that filamentous cyanobacteria bear a Gram-negative cell wall comprising a peptidoglycan layer and an outer membrane that are external to the cytoplasmic membrane, and that the outer membrane appears to be continuous along the filament of cells. This implies that the periplasmic space between the cytoplasmic and outer membranes might also be continuous. We propose that a continuous periplasm could constitute a communication conduit for the transfer of compounds, which is essential for the performance of these bacteria as multicellular organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cell Wall / ultrastructure*
  • Cyanobacteria / cytology*
  • Cyanobacteria / physiology*
  • Cyanobacteria / ultrastructure
  • Periplasm / ultrastructure*