World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gemmata obscuriglobus

Article Id: WHEBN0048409890
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gemmata obscuriglobus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Version 1.0 Editorial Team/MCB articles by quality log, Bacteria
Collection: Planctomycetes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gemmata obscuriglobus

Gemmata obscuriglobus
Four panels of two-dimensional electron micrographs of G. obscuriglobus cells with complex internal membranes.
Electron micrographs of representative examples illustrating G. obscuriglobus internal morphology. Scale bar = 500nm.[1]
Scientific classification
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Planctomycetes
Class: Planctomycetacia
Order: Planctomycetales
Family: Planctomycetaceae
Genus: Gemmata
Species: G. obscuriglobus
Binomial name
Gemmata obscuriglobus
Franzmann and Skerman, 1985[2]

Gemmata obscuriglobus is a prokaryotes. G. obscuriglobus has been described as "the platypus of microbiology".[4]


  • Discovery 1
  • Morphology and internal structure 2
    • Membrane structure 2.1
    • Membrane and cell wall composition 2.2
    • Nucleoids 2.3
  • Sterol synthesis 3
  • Endocytosis 4
  • Genomic content and organization 5
  • Reproduction 6
  • References 7


G. obscuriglobus is a freshwater bacterium, originally described on the basis of a single strain isolated from the littoral region near the Maroon Dam in Queensland, Australia.[2]

Morphology and internal structure

G. obscuriglobus is a large, roughly spherical bacterium with a cell diameter of 1-2μm. It is motile and possesses multiple flagella per cell (i.e., multitrichous). Dense, compact DNA and a deeply invaginated membrane are characteristics of the species.[2][4]

Membrane structure

A two-dimensional electron micrograph and three-dimensional tomographic reconstruction of a single G. obscuriglobus cell, with colored highlights to indicate a deeply invaginated membrane within the cell.
Electron micrograph (top) and whole-cell three-dimensional reconstruction (bottom) of Gemmata obscuriglobus. This reconstruction suggests continuous, non-enclosed membranes. The outer membrane is shown in green, the inner membrane in cyan, the DNA in yellow, a poly-phosphate granule in blue, and membrane cavitation in pink. Scale bar = 500nm.[5]
A two-dimensional electron micrograph of a single G. obscuriglobus cell, and a three-dimensional volume of one of its internal compartments.
Electron micrograph (top) and three-dimensional reconstruction of the nuclear body (bottom) of Gemmata obscuriglobus. This reconstruction suggests a closed membrane around the nuclear body. The top panel labels the nuclear body (NB), nuclear DNA (N), and riboplasm (R). The nuclear body appears surrounded by a membrane that is a single layer in some places (arrowheads) and a double membrane in others (arrows). Top panel scale bar = 1µm, bottom panel scale bar = 500nm.[6]

Among the most notable features of G. obscuriglobus is its highly complex and morphologically distinctive cell membrane system, including deep invaginations of its membrane that historically have been considered as potential closed internal membranes that may surround the bacterium's DNA by analogy to a eukaryotic cell nucleus.[7] This has been described as a "cell plan" unique to a proposed superphylum composed of the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae (PVC) and distinct from the rest of the Gram-negative bacteria. The question of whether G. obscuriglobus and other members of the PVC group possess closed internal membranes and therefore have a unique "cell plan" is considered important in understanding the evolution of membrane-bound compartments, which are often considered a distinguishing feature between eukaryotes and prokaryotes;[4][8] the question remains controversial.[9][10]

Three-dimensional tomogram reconstructions of whole cells reported in 2013 suggest that contrary to historical belief, G. obscuriglobus membranes are continuous and do not enclose distinct cellular compartments.[5] However, this study has been criticized for not detecting or modeling some commonly reported structural features,[11] and a 2014 study using similar methodology was interpreted as supporting the earlier hypothesis of closed internal compartments.[6]

Membrane and cell wall composition

Compositional analysis of the membrane has been reported to find lipopolysaccharide in G. obscuriglobus, consistent with typical features of Gram-negative outer membranes.[12] The bacterium has historically been reported to lack a peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall, but a 2015 study of several planctomycetes including G. obscuriglobus identified the presence of a PG cell wall following the typical Gram-negative structure by both biochemical and bioinformatic analysis.[13]


One or more nucleoid-like regions of densely compact DNA is commonly observed in G. obscuriglobus cells. Complex internal structure resembling a liquid crystal has been reported, with some structural similarities to the chromatin of eukaryotes such as dinoflagellates.[14] The structure of the nucleoid has been implicated in the unusual radiation tolerance of G. obscuriglobus.[15]

Transcription and translation of genes have been reported to occur in spatially segregated locations within the cell, which is otherwise characteristic of eukaryotic but not prokaryotic cells.[16]

Sterol synthesis

G. obscuriglobus is one of the few prokaryotes known to synthesize sterols,[17] a process critical to the maintenance of eukaryotic cell membranes and ubiquitous in eukaryotes.[18] The sterols identified in the bacterium, lanosterol and parkeol, are relatively simple compared to eukaryotic sterols; as indicated by phylogenetic analysis, the G. obscuriglobus sterol biosynthetic pathway was among the most primitive known at the time it was identified.[17]


G. obscuriglobus was the first bacterium shown to possess a mechanism for protein import into the cell, analogous to eukaryotic endocytosis. Active, ATP-dependent, likely receptor-mediated import of extracellular proteins has been observed under laboratory conditions, although it is of unknown functional significance. This may suggest that planctomycete and eukaryote endocytosis mechanism share a common evolutionary origin, that the two processes may be an example of convergent evolution, or that G. obscuriglobus acquired its endocytotic infrastructure through horizontal gene transfer; of the three possibilities, the latter is considered unlikely due to statistical features of the bacterial genes associated with the process.[19][20] There is disagreement over the possibility that proteins with homology to clathrins are represented in the G. obscuriglobus proteome.[1][11] The bacterium's ability to synthesize sterols may also be involved in its capacity for membrane invaginations and endocytosis because sterols are known to facilitate membrane deformation.[5][11]

Genomic content and organization

The G. obscuriglobus genome was sequenced by the J. Craig Venter Institute. The bacterium has a large genome by the standards of other PVC bacteria, around 9 megabases, and contains about 8,000 genes. It has 67% GC content. It possesses unusual genetic infrastructure, lacking a key component of most bacterial cell division processes, the protein FtsZ.[4] A study of indels in protein-coding genes of the PVC grouping identified a number of biochemical pathways with unusually high numbers of indels in the G. obscuriglobus genome, including ribosomal proteins.[21]


Electron micrograph of G. obscuriglobus in the process of dividing by budding. Labels indicate the nucleoid (N) of the mother (larger) and daughter (smaller) cells, and the nucleoid envelope (NE) of the daughter cell, which is described as not yet fully formed. Scale bar = 1μm.[22]

Like most planctomycetes, G. obscuriglobus reproduces by budding rather than the fission more commonly observed in bacterial species. It is relatively slow-growing, with with an estimated generation time of around 13 hours based on bulk cell culture.[2] Its life cycle consists of a motile or "swarmer" and a sessile phase during which budding occurs, although these are less distinct than in other planctomycetes whose life cycles have been studied. Observations of individual cells in culture found that approximately 12 hours were required for bud maturation and separation, followed by an asymmetrical lag phase in which mother cells were quicker to begin a new budding cycle than were newly budded daughter cells.[22]

It has been reported that the budding process involves transfer of naked DNA to the daughter cell, after which it is then surrounded by a nucleoid membrane.[22] However, three-dimensional reconstructions indicate that DNA is never surrounded by a closed membrane in a newly created bud, but instead is free to diffuse from the mother to daughter cell cytoplasm after the "neck" between the mother and daughter cell membranes, initially as narrow as 30 nanometers, widens sufficiently to accommodate condensed DNA.[5]


  1. ^ a b Santarella-Mellwig, Rachel; Franke, Josef; Jaedicke, Andreas; Gorjanacz, Matyas; Bauer, Ulrike; Budd, Aidan; Mattaj, Iain W.; Devos, Damien P.; Schmid, Sandra L. (19 January 2010). "The Compartmentalized Bacteria of the Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae Superphylum Have Membrane Coat-Like Proteins". PLoS Biology 8 (1): e1000281.  
  2. ^ a b c d e Franzmann, P. D.; Skerman, V. B. D. (May 1984). "Gemmata obscuriglobus, a new genus and species of the budding bacteria". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 50 (3): 261–268.  
  3. ^ "Gemmata obscuriglobus".  
  4. ^ a b c d Devos, Damien P. (September 2013). "Gemmata obscuriglobus". Current Biology 23 (17): R705–R707.  
  5. ^ a b c d Santarella-Mellwig, R; Pruggnaller, S; Roos, N; Mattaj, IW; Devos, DP (2013). "Three-dimensional reconstruction of bacteria with a complex endomembrane system.". PLoS biology 11 (5): e1001565.  
  6. ^ a b Sagulenko, E; Morgan, GP; Webb, RI; Yee, B; Lee, KC; Fuerst, JA (2014). "Structural studies of planctomycete Gemmata obscuriglobus support cell compartmentalisation in a bacterium.". PloS one 9 (3): e91344.  
  7. ^ Fuerst, JA (July 1995). "The planctomycetes: emerging models for microbial ecology, evolution and cell biology.". Microbiology (Reading, England). 141 ( Pt 7): 1493–506.  
  8. ^ Fuerst, John A. (2010). "Beyond Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes : Planctomycetes and Cell Organization". Nature Education 3 (9): 44. 
  9. ^ Fuerst, JA (October 2013). "The PVC superphylum: exceptions to the bacterial definition?". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 104 (4): 451–66.  
  10. ^ Devos, DP (February 2014). "Re-interpretation of the evidence for the PVC cell plan supports a Gram-negative origin.". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 105 (2): 271–4.  
  11. ^ a b c Fuerst, John A.; Sagulenko, Evgeny (August 2014). "Towards understanding the molecular mechanism of the endocytosis-like process in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research 1843 (8): 1732–1738.  
  12. ^ Mahat, Rajendra; Seebart, Corrine; Basile, Franco; Ward, Naomi L. (19 October 2015). "Global and targeted lipid analysis of Gemmata obscuriglobus reveals the presence of lipopolysaccharide, a signature of the classical Gram-negative outer membrane". Journal of Bacteriology: JB.00517–15.  
  13. ^ Jeske, O; Schüler, M; Schumann, P; Schneider, A; Boedeker, C; Jogler, M; Bollschweiler, D; Rohde, M; Mayer, C; Engelhardt, H; Spring, S; Jogler, C (12 May 2015). "Planctomycetes do possess a peptidoglycan cell wall.". Nature communications 6: 7116.  
  14. ^ Yee, Benjamin; Sagulenko, Evgeny; Morgan, Garry P.; Webb, Richard I.; Fuerst, John A. (2012). "Electron tomography of the nucleoid of Gemmata obscuriglobus reveals complex liquid crystalline cholesteric structure". Frontiers in Microbiology 3.  
  15. ^ Lieber, A; Leis, A; Kushmaro, A; Minsky, A; Medalia, O (March 2009). "Chromatin organization and radio resistance in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus.". Journal of bacteriology 191 (5): 1439–45.  
  16. ^ Gottshall, E. Y.; Seebart, C.; Gatlin, J. C.; Ward, N. L. (14 July 2014). "Spatially segregated transcription and translation in cells of the endomembrane-containing bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (30): 11067–11072.  
  17. ^ a b Pearson, A.; Budin, M.; Brocks, J. J. (5 December 2003). "Phylogenetic and biochemical evidence for sterol synthesis in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (26): 15352–15357.  
  18. ^ Desmond, E.; Gribaldo, S. (10 September 2009). "Phylogenomics of Sterol Synthesis: Insights into the Origin, Evolution, and Diversity of a Key Eukaryotic Feature". Genome Biology and Evolution 1 (0): 364–381.  
  19. ^ Lonhienne, T. G. A.; Sagulenko, E.; Webb, R. I.; Lee, K.-C.; Franke, J.; Devos, D. P.; Nouwens, A.; Carroll, B. J.; Fuerst, J. A. (21 June 2010). "Endocytosis-like protein uptake in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (29): 12883–12888.  
  20. ^ Jermy, Andrew (August 2010). "Evolution: Bacterial endocytosis uncovered". Nature Reviews Microbiology 8 (8): 534–535.  
  21. ^ Kamneva, O. K.; Liberles, D. A.; Ward, N. L. (3 November 2010). "Genome-Wide Influence of Indel Substitutions on Evolution of Bacteria of the PVC Superphylum, Revealed Using a Novel Computational Method". Genome Biology and Evolution 2 (0): 870–886.  
  22. ^ a b c Lee, Kuo-Chang; Webb, Rick I; Fuerst, John A (2009). "The cell cycle of the planctomycete Gemmata obscuriglobus with respect to cell compartmentalization". BMC Cell Biology 10 (1): 4.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.