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Gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria (pink-red rods).

Gram-negative bacteria are those bacteria that do not retain crystal violet dye in the Gram staining protocol.[1] In a Gram stain test, a counterstain (commonly safranin) is added after the crystal violet, coloring all Gram-negative bacteria with a red or pink color. The test itself is useful in classifying two distinct types of bacteria based on the structural differences of their cell walls. On the other hand, Gram-positive bacteria will retain the crystal violet dye when washed in a decolorizing solution.

The pathogenic capability of Gram-negative bacteria is often associated with certain components of Gram-negative cell walls, in particular the lipopolysaccharide (also known as LPS or endotoxin) layer.[1] In humans, LPS triggers an innate immune response characterized by cytokine production and immune system activation. Inflammation is a common result of cytokine (from the Greek cyto, cell and kinesis, movement) production, which can also produce host toxicity.

When treated as a clade, the term "negibacteria" is sometimes used.[2]

Contents

Characteristics

Structure of gram-negative cell wall
Gram-positive- and negative bacteria are chiefly differentiated by their cell wall structure.

The following characteristics are displayed by Gram-negative bacteria:

  1. Cytoplasmic membrane
  2. Thin peptidoglycan layer (which is much thinner than in Gram-positive bacteria)
  3. Outer membrane containing lipopolysaccharide (LPS, which consists of lipid A, core polysaccharide, and O antigen) outside the peptidoglycan layer
  4. Porins exist in the outer membrane, which act like pores for particular molecules
  5. There is a space between the layers of peptidoglycan and the secondary cell membrane called the periplasmic space
  6. The S-layer is directly attached to the outer membrane, rather than the peptidoglycan
  7. If present, flagella have four supporting rings instead of two
  8. No teichoic acids or lipoteichoic acids are present
  9. Lipoproteins are attached to the polysaccharide backbone.
  10. Most do not sporulate (Coxiella burnetii, which produces spore-like structures, is a notable exception)
Gram - algorithm.png

Example species

The proteobacteria are a major group of Gram-negative bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and other Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, Moraxella, Helicobacter, Stenotrophomonas, Bdellovibrio, acetic acid bacteria, Legionella and alpha-proteobacteria as Wolbachia and many others. Other notable groups of Gram-negative bacteria include the cyanobacteria, spirochaetes, green sulfur and green non-sulfur bacteria.

Medically relevant Gram-negative cocci include three organisms, which cause a sexually transmitted disease (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), a meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis), and respiratory symptoms (Moraxella catarrhalis).

Medically relevant Gram-negative bacilli include a multitude of species. Some of them primarily cause respiratory problems (Hemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa), primarily urinary problems (Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Enterobacter cloacae, Serratia marcescens), and primarily gastrointestinal problems (Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhi).

Gram-negative bacteria associated with nosocomial infections include Acinetobacter baumannii, which cause bacteremia, secondary meningitis, and ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care units of hospital establishments.

Medical treatment

One of the several unique characteristics of Gram-negative bacteria is the structure of the outer membrane. The outer leaflet of the membrane comprises a complex lipopolysaccharide whose lipid portion acts as an endotoxin. If endotoxin enters the circulatory system it causes a toxic reaction with the sufferer having a high temperature and respiration rate and a low blood pressure. This may lead to endotoxic shock, which may be fatal.

This outer membrane protects the bacteria from several antibiotics, dyes, and detergents which would normally damage the inner membrane or cell wall (peptidoglycan). The outer membrane provides these bacteria with resistance to lysozyme and penicillin. Fortunately, alternative medicinal treatments such as lysozyme with EDTA, and the antibiotic ampicillin have been developed to combat the protective outer membrane of some pathogenic Gram-negative organisms. Other drugs can be used, namely chloramphenicol, streptomycin, and nalidixic acid.

See also

References

Notes

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to gram-negative article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Adjective

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Wikipedia

gram-negative (or Gram-negative)

  1. (medicine) (of a bacterium) that is not stained violet by Gram's method

Antonyms


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