Gram‐type Positive Bacteria

Abstract

Gram‐type positive bacteria, composed of the two phyla Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, are characterized by the presence of a thick peptidoglycan layer and the absence of lipopolysaccharide and an outer membrane. Though closely related phylogenetically, these bacteria are diverse in habitat, metabolism and medical and industrial importance. Although not observed for all, the Firmicutes (low G+C mol% group) represent endospore‐formers while the Actinobacteria (high G+C mol% group) taxa form actinospores (Actinoplanes), conidiospores (Streptomyces) or hyphae‐fragmentation into short cells without formation of conidia (Nocardia).

Keywords: Gram‐type; bacteria; clostridia; bacilli

Figure 1.

Envelope structure of (a) the ‘typical’ Gram‐type negative bacterium; and (b) the ‘typical’ Gram‐type positive bacterium. LPS, lipopolysaccharide; OM, outer membrane; P, periplasm; M, murein; CM, cytoplasmic membrane; C, cytosol.

Figure 2.

(a) Phylogenetic tree for the families of the phylum Firmicutes. This neighbour‐joining tree shows the estimated phylogenetic relationships for the type strains of the type species of the type genera for each family contained within the phylum ‘Firmicutes’ based on 16S rRNA gene sequence data with Jukes–Cantor correction for synonymous changes. The 16S rRNA gene data used represent Escherichia coli DSM 30083T nucleotide positions 78–1514. Numbers at nodes indicate bootstrap support values for 1000 replicates. Bar indicates 0.05 nucleotide substitutions per site. The symbol ‘*’ before the strain name indicates the strain has never been shown to produce endospores. The superscript ‘T’ denotes the sequence is from the type strain for the type species of the type genus for the corresponding family within the phylum ‘Firmicutes’. GenBank accession numbers are given in parentheses. Family names are indicated in bold after the GenBank accession number. The three classes of the ‘Firmicutes’ are indicated by dashed lines. Lachnospira multipara and Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides are the type species for the genera Lachnospira and Mycoplasma, respectively, however, full length 16S rRNA data are not available for either species. Therefore, Lachnospira pectinoschiza and Mycoplasma pneumoniae were included to represent those genera. In addition, endospore‐formation has never been demonstrated for L. multipara but has been demonstrated for L. pectinoschiza. No 16S rRNA sequence is available for the nonendospore‐forming Acetoanaerobium noterae, a member of the Class III ‘Bacilli’ Order II ‘Lactobacillales’. (b) Phylogenetic tree of families of the phylum Actinobacteria. Neighbour‐joining tree shows the estimated phylogenetic relationships for the type strains of the type species of the type genera for each family contained within the phylum Actinobacteria based on 16S rRNA gene sequence data with Jukes–Cantor correction for synonymous changes. The 16S rRNA gene data used represent E. coli DSM 30083T nucleotide positions 161–1361. Numbers at nodes indicate bootstrap support values for 1000 replicates. Bar indicates 0.05 nucleotide substitutions per site. Many taxa produce actino‐ or conidiospores, however, species indicated by ‘*’ have never been observed to produce any spores. The superscript ‘T’ denotes the sequence is from the type strain for the type species of the type genus for the corresponding family within the Phylum Actinobacteria. GenBank accession numbers are given in parentheses. Family name is indicated in bold after the GenBank accession number. The five subclasses of the Actinobacteria are indicated as well as the two orders contained within Subclass V Actinobacteridae. Two sporulating strains from Subclass V Actinobacteridae, Kineosporia aurantiaca (Order I Actinomycetales) and Actinobispora yunnanensis (Order II Bifidobacteriales), were omitted from the tree due to their current, unclear taxonomic statuses. No 16S rRNA sequence is available for the spore‐forming Frankia alni, a member of the Subclass V Actinobacteridae, Order I Actinomycetales.

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Wiegel, Juergen, Byrer, Dorothy E, and Onyenwoke, Rob(Mar 2008) Gram‐type Positive Bacteria. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000456.pub2]