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Glossary of Microbiology - The Prokaryotic Cell Structure

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Peptidoglycan monomer
NAM and NAG molecules bonded to a tetrapeptide
What is the function of peptidoglycan?
Gives bacteria shape and prevents osmotic lysis
Autolysins
bacterial enzymes break cross links between peptidoglycan monomers during growth of cell wall
Transpeptidase
enzymes that add new peptidoglycan monomers and reseal cell wall during cell growth
How do penicillins interfere with cell wall growth to kill bacteria?
They bind to transpeptidase enzymes so they cannot cross-link peptidoglycan monomers
How do cephalosporins interfere with cell wall growth to kill bacteria?
They bind to transpeptidase enzymes so they cannot cross-link peptidoglycan monomers
How do glycopeptides interfere with cell wall growth to kill
bacteria?
They bind directly to peptides in the cell wall and block then from cross-linking
What color are gram-positive bacteria when stained and why?
Purple, because they retain the initial dye crystal violet
What color are gram-negative bacteria when stained and why?
Pink, because they pick up the counterstain safranin
What color are acid-fast bacteria when stained and why?
Red, because they retain the initial dye carbolfuchsin
teichoic acids
acids found in the cell wall of gram-positive bacteria
pathogen-associated molecular patterns
molecules unique to microorganisms that the body detects as being foreign.
What percent of the cell wall of a gram-positive bacteria is peptidoglycan?
60-90%
How thick is the gram-positive cell wall?
20-80 nm
How thick is the gram-negative cell wall?
2-3 nm
What percent of the cell wall of a gram-negative bacteria is peptidoglycan?
10-20%

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