The bacterial cell wall: The armor, artillery, and Achilles heel

Sam Bower, Ken S. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The bacterial cell wall, like the outer shell of a submarine or a spaceship, is the armor of the bacteria which contains and protects its cytoplasmic contents. The cell wall also contains attachment, invasion, and toxin-secretory weapon systems (artillery). The importance of the cell wall makes it an Achilles heel, and disruption of the cell wall kills the bacteria. This review provides an overview of the structure of the bacterial cell wall, its components and their role as virulence factors, and the vulnerability of the cell wall as a target for antimicrobials and host innate and immune defenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalInfectious Diseases in Clinical Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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