Lysates of cell envelopes from Halobacterium halobium have been separated into four fractions. A soluble, colorless fraction (I) containing protein, hexosamines, and no lipid is apparently derived from the cell wall. A red fraction (II), containing approximately 40 per cent lipid, 60 per cent protein, and a small amount of hexosamines consists of cell membrane disaggregated into fragments of small size. A third fraction (III) of purple color consists of large membrane sheets and has a very similar composition to II, containing the same classes of lipids but no hexosamines; its buoyant density is 1.18 g/ml. The fourth fraction (IV) has a buoyant density of 1.23 g/ml and contains the "intracytoplasmic membranes." These consist mainly of protein, and no lipid can be extracted with chloroform-methanol. Fractions I and II, which result from disaggregation of cell wall and cell membrane during lysis, contain a high proportion of dicarboxyl amino acids; this is in good agreement with the assumption that disruption of the cell envelope upon removal of salt is due to the high charge density. The intracytoplasmic membranes (IV) represent the gas vacuole membranes in the collapsed state. In a number of mutants that have lost the ability to form gas vacuoles, no vacuole membranes or any structure that could be related to them has been found.

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