• Determining the bacterial cell biology of Planctomycetes.

      Boedeker, Christian; Schüler, Margarete; Reintjes, Greta; Jeske, Olga; van Teeseling, Muriel C F; Jogler, Mareike; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Devos, Damien P; Kucklick, Martin; et al. (2017-04-10)
      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.
    • Planctomycetes do possess a peptidoglycan cell wall.

      Jeske, Olga; Schüler, Margarete; Schumann, Peter; Schneider, Alexander; Boedeker, Christian; Jogler, Mareike; Bollschweiler, Daniel; Rohde, Manfred; Mayer, Christoph; Engelhardt, Harald; et al. (2015)
      Most bacteria contain a peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall, which is critical for maintenance of shape and important for cell division. In contrast, Planctomycetes have been proposed to produce a proteinaceous cell wall devoid of PG. The apparent absence of PG has been used as an argument for the putative planctomycetal ancestry of all bacterial lineages. Here we show, employing multiple bioinformatic methods, that planctomycetal genomes encode proteins required for PG synthesis. Furthermore, we biochemically demonstrate the presence of the sugar and the peptide components of PG in Planctomycetes. In addition, light and electron microscopic experiments reveal planctomycetal PG sacculi that are susceptible to lysozyme treatment. Finally, cryo-electron tomography demonstrates that Planctomycetes possess a typical PG cell wall and that their cellular architecture is thus more similar to that of other Gram-negative bacteria. Our findings shed new light on the cellular architecture and cell division of the maverick Planctomycetes.