Periplasm, periplasmic spaces, and their relation to bacterial wall structure: novel secretion of selected periplasmic proteins from Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Microb Drug Resist. Spring 1996;2(1):1-8. doi: 10.1089/mdr.1996.2.1.


A brief overview of thin sections of cryopreserved walls from select eubacteria will be presented to suggest that all bacteria have functional periplasms, but that these are not necessarily confined to a periplasmic space such as found in typical gram-negative bacteria. Pseudomonas aeruginosa contains many components in its periplasmic space, some of which are required for infection. Throughout its growth cycle, P. aeruginosa blebs-off membrane vesicles that can possess DNA, endotoxin, phospholipase, protease, hemolysin, alkaline phosphatase, and autolysin, each of which must have a molecular phase that resides in the periplasm. These membrane packets make good delivery systems to convey these components to other bacteria and, possibly, tissue. Aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin, produce a serious perturbation on the bacterium's surface (separate from the ribosomal effect), which contributes to the killing of the microorganism. Antibiotics such as this increase the size and number of the membrane blebs, which could contribute to septic shock of patients under drug therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cell Wall / drug effects
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / ultrastructure*
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / ultrastructure*


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins