The cell wall is a protective barrier around a cell. They are possessed by plants, fungi and bacteria.
They are made up of repeating polymers of carbohydrates.
Eubacterial cell walls are made up of a substance called peptidoglycan. Peptidoglycan is a polysaccharide of
N-Acetylmuramic acid (NAM) and N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG). These two alternating subunits are linked by a Beta
(1-4) glycosidic bond which results from acetal formation. These polymers are linked by short peptide chains
which give the cell wall much greater strength. These peptides contain D-Amino acids, which are not normally
used in proteins.
The cell walls of fungi are made up of chitin. Chitin is is made up of repeating N-acetyl glucosamine subunits
that are connected by Beta (1-4) glycosidic bonds. Chitin can also be found in the exoskeletons of insects.
The cell walls of plants are made up of cellulose, a repeating polymer of glucose subunits linked by
Beta(1-4) glycosidic bonds. Cellulose forms an extensively hydrogen bonded system that gives it great
strength. Vertebrates do not have an enzyme that will cleave the Beta(1-4) glycosidic bond and thus cannot