I. Basic and applied S-layer research: an overview1


  • Uwe B Sleytr

    Corresponding author
    1. Zentrum für Ultrastrukturforschung and Ludwig Boltzmann-Institut für Molekulare Nanotechnologie, Universität für Bodenkultur, A-1180 Wien, Austria
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  • 1

    This review is part of a series of reviews dealing with different aspects of bacterial S-layers; all these reviews appear in Volume 20/1-2 (June 1997) of FEMS Microbiological Reviews, thematic issue devoted to bacterial S-layers.

Tel.: +43 (1) 476 54 ext. 2201; fax: +43 (1) 478 91 12; e-mail: sleytr@edv1.boku.ac.at


S-layers are crystalline monomolecular assemblies of protein or glycoprotein, which represent one of the most common cell surface structures in Archaea and Bacteria. As porous lattices completely covering the cell surface they can provide prokaryotic cells with selection advantages by functioning as protective coats, as structures involved in cell adhesion and surface recognition, as molecule or ion traps, and molecular sieves. In Archaea, which possess S-layers as exclusive cell wall component, the (glyco)protein lattices function as cell shape determining/maintaining framework. Studies on structure, chemistry, genetics, assembly and function of S-layers revealed a considerable application potential for the regular arrays in biotechnology, biomimetics, biomedicine and molecular nanotechnology.