The mesosomes of log-phase Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538P and Staphylococcus aureus phage-type 80/81, as seen in situ in ultrathin sections, were of the vesicular type. The constituent vesicles ranged from 35 to 50 nm in diameter when the glutaraldehyde-osmium-uranium-lead sequence of fixation and staining was used. During protoplasting in hypertonic buffer containing a muralytic enzyme, vesicles of the same size were extruded and required magnesium ion to maintain structural integrity. The vesicles, purified from the protoplasting supernatant medium by density gradient centrifugation, maintained size and configuration in a homogeneous preparation. Cytoplasmic membranes, produced by osmotic shock and nuclease treatment of protoplasts, were similarly concentrated in gradients. However, they were not free of membrane-associated ribosomes nor of mesosomal vesicles except when prepared in the absence of magnesium
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