RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Archaebacterial cell wall, artwork. The cell wall is sectioned and seen as horizontal layers. These include the S-layer (green spheres), a lattice of tough proteins anchored in the cell membrane (pink and yellow). The interior of the cell (blue) lies below the cell membrane. The tough exterior of the S-layer allows archaebacteria like extremophiles to live in very hot environments, such as around volcanic vents. Archaebacteria are unicellular microscopic organisms that may have been among the earliest forms of life. This is a Gram-negative cell wall that does not retain the Gram stain that helps identify microbial life. For a Gram-positive archaebacterial cell wall, see image G460/101.
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