Elastic, flexible peptidoglycan and bacterial cell wall properties

Trends Microbiol. 1994 Feb;2(2):57-60. doi: 10.1016/0966-842x(94)90127-9.


The peptidoglycan sacculus serves as a mechanical framework for the cell walls of most eubacteria and largely determines cell shape. The notion that the structure is a rigid shell is contradicted by findings that peptidoglycan can expand and contract. Thus, the sacculus functions as an elastic, flexible, polyionic, amphoteric, restraining network.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Cell Wall / ultrastructure
  • Elasticity
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Peptidoglycan / metabolism*


  • Peptidoglycan