Advances in understanding bacterial outer-membrane biogenesis

Thomas J. Silhavy, Natividad Ruiz, Daniel Kahne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

368 Scopus citations


The outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli serves as a protective barrier that controls the influx and efflux of solutes. This allows the bacteria to inhabit several different, and often hostile, environments. The assembly of the E. coli outer membrane has been difficult to study using traditional genetic and biochemical methods, and how all its components reach the outer membrane after being synthesized in the cytoplasm and cytoplasmic membrane, how they are assembled in an environment that is devoid of an obvious energy source, and how assembly proceeds without disrupting the integrity of this essential cellular structure are all fundamental questions that remain unanswered. Here, we review the new approaches that have led to the recent discovery of components of the machinery involved in the biogenesis of this distinctive cellular organelle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


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