Peptidoglycan structure and architecture

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2008 Mar;32(2):149-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2007.00094.x. Epub 2008 Jan 8.


The peptidoglycan (murein) sacculus is a unique and essential structural element in the cell wall of most bacteria. Made of glycan strands cross-linked by short peptides, the sacculus forms a closed, bag-shaped structure surrounding the cytoplasmic membrane. There is a high diversity in the composition and sequence of the peptides in the peptidoglycan from different species. Furthermore, in several species examined, the fine structure of the peptidoglycan significantly varies with the growth conditions. Limited number of biophysical data on the thickness, elasticity and porosity of peptidoglycan are available. The different models for the architecture of peptidoglycan are discussed with respect to structural and physical parameters.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Bacteria / cytology
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Peptidoglycan / biosynthesis
  • Peptidoglycan / chemistry*
  • Peptidoglycan / classification


  • Peptidoglycan