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Volume 2010, Article ID 608243, 13 pages
Review Article

Shaping the Archaeal Cell Envelope

1Centre for Integrative Biology, Microbial Genomics, Via delle Regole 101, 38123 Mattarello, Italy
2Department of Molecular Microbiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, The Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Kerklaan 30, 9751 NN Haren, The Netherlands
3Molecular Biology of Archaea, Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch-Straße 10, 35043 Marburg, Germany

Received 14 April 2010; Accepted 29 May 2010

Academic Editor: Jerry Eichler

Copyright © 2010 Albert F. Ellen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although archaea have a similar cellular organization as other prokaryotes, the lipid composition of their membranes and their cell surface is unique. Here we discuss recent developments in our understanding of the archaeal protein secretion mechanisms, the assembly of macromolecular cell surface structures, and the release of S-layer-coated vesicles from the archaeal membrane.