The outer membrane refers to the outside membranes of Gram-negative bacteria, the chloroplast, or the mitochondria. It is used to maintain the shape of the organelle contained within its structure, and it acts as a barrier against certain dangers.
The outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria has an unusual structure. The outer leaflet of the membrane comprises a complex lipopolysaccharide whose lipid portion acts as an endotoxin. If endotoxin enters the circulatory system it causes a toxic reaction with the sufferer having a high temperature and respiration rate and a low blood pressure. This may lead to endotoxic shock, which may be fatal.
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