Co-ordinated assembly of the multilayered cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2024 Jun:79:102479. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2024.102479. Epub 2024 May 7.


Bacteria surround themselves with complex cell envelopes to maintain their integrity and protect against external insults. The envelope of Gram-negative organisms is multilayered, with two membranes sandwiching the periplasmic space that contains the peptidoglycan cell wall. Understanding how this complicated surface architecture is assembled during cell growth and division is a major fundamental problem in microbiology. Additionally, because the envelope is an important antibiotic target and determinant of intrinsic antibiotic resistance, understanding the mechanisms governing its assembly is relevant to therapeutic development. In the last several decades, most of the factors required to build the Gram-negative envelope have been identified. However, surprisingly, little is known about how the biogenesis of the different cell surface layers is co-ordinated. Here, we provide an overview of recent work that is beginning to uncover the links connecting the different envelope biosynthetic pathways and assembly machines to ensure uniform envelope growth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane* / metabolism
  • Cell Wall* / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / physiology
  • Peptidoglycan* / metabolism


  • Peptidoglycan
  • Bacterial Proteins