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Ultrastructural Study of Pierce's Disease Bacterium in Grape Xylem Tissue

By Hilton H. Mollenhauer and Donald L. Hopkins


The rod-shaped rickettsia-like bacteria of Pierce's disease measure about 0.25 to 0.50 μm in diameter and 1.0 to 4.0 μm long. The bacteria have a cell wall consisting of a trilaminar outer membrane and two intermediate low-density layers separated by a dense intermediate layer. A trilaminar cytoplasmic membrane is also present, resulting in a total wall complex thickness of 25 to 40 nm. A periodic infolding of the outer membrane and intermediate layers of the wall give the wall surface a ridged apperance. The ridges appear to go around the long axis of the cell, possibly in the form of spirals. Ribosomes and nuclear regions with easily visible deoxyribonucleic acid strands and clumps are distributed throughout the cytoplasm. Binary fission, during which the cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane folded inward to partition the cell, was observed. In the xylem of infected grapes, the bacteria are either distributed evenly throughout the lumen of the xylem vessel or appressed along the inner surface of the vessel walls in an electron-lucent matrix

Topics: Morphology and Ultrastructure
Year: 1974
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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