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Outer Membrane of Gram-negative Cells

  1. like a stiff “canvas sack” around the bacterial cell.
  2. maintains cell structure.
  3. is a permeability barrier to large molecules (like lysozyme) and hydrophobic molecules; also provides protection from adverse environments like the GI tract.
  4. has an asymmetric bilayer structure: inner leaflet similar to other phospholipid membranes, but outer leaflet contains LPS.
  5. contains a group of transmembrane proteins, porins, that form pores allowing diffusion of small hydrophilic molecules.
  6. is involved in signal transduction, e.g. quorum sensing: communication among bacteria.
  7. can be disrupted by antibiotics, like polymyxin.

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