Gluconobacter oxydans is well known for the limited oxidation of compounds and rapid excretion of industrially important oxidation products. The dehydrogenases responsible for these oxidations are reportedly bound to the cell's plasma membrane. This report demonstrates that fully viable G. oxydans differentiates at the end of exponential growth by forming dense regions at the end of each cell observed with the light microscope. When these cells were thin sectioned, their polar regions contained accumulations of intracytoplasmic membranes and ribosomes not found in undifferentiated exponentially growing cells. Both freeze-fracture-etched whole cells and thin sections through broken-cell envelopes of differentiated cells demonstrate that intracytoplasmic membranes occur as a polar accumulation of vesicles that are attached to the plasma membrane. When cells were tested for the activity of the plasma membrane-associated glycerol dehydrogenase, those containing intracytoplasmic membranes were 100% more active than cells lacking these membranes. These results suggest that intracytoplasmic membranes are formed by continued plasma membrane synthesis at the end of active cell division
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