Hexagonal Pattern in Cell Walls of Escherichia coli B

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Science  27 Jan 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3761, pp. 472-474
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3761.472


Cell walls, isolated from Escherichia coli B, as examined by electron microscopy and optical diffraction contain a hexagonal lattice structure, the (1,0) planes of which are separated by 140 ± 8 angstroms. Unless the walls are briefly heated (10 minutes, 90°C) early in the isolation, the hexagonal array cannot always be observed. Enzymatic digestion with pancreatin and amylase improves visualization of the lattice; subsequent treatment with pepsin and sodium dodecylsulfate removes the hexagonal pattern. Protein or lipoprotein globular units within the wall may thus be arranged in a hexagonal array uponthe mucopeptide layer.