Bacteria of the phylum Planctomycetes have been previously reported to possess several features that are typical of eukaryotes, such as cytosolic compartmentalization and endocytosis-like macromolecule uptake. However, recent evidence points towards a Gram-negative cell plan for Planctomycetes, although in-depth experimental analysis has been hampered by insufficient genetic tools. Here we develop methods for expression of fluorescent proteins and for gene deletion in a model planctomycete, Planctopirus limnophila, to analyse its cell organization in detail. Super-resolution light microscopy of mutants, cryo-electron tomography, bioinformatic predictions and proteomic analyses support an altered Gram-negative cell plan for Planctomycetes, including a defined outer membrane, a periplasmic space that can be greatly enlarged and convoluted, and an energized cytoplasmic membrane. These conclusions are further supported by experiments performed with two other Planctomycetes, Gemmata obscuriglobus and Rhodopirellula baltica. We also provide experimental evidence that is inconsistent with endocytosis-like macromolecule uptake; instead, extracellular macromolecules can be taken up and accumulate in the periplasmic space through unclear mechanisms.