Domains of Life; Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic Cells

ID #1597

What is the purpose of the capsule that some prokaryotes have? Is this capsule present only in some types of bacteria, or can archae also have a capsule?

The capsule prevents desiccation and very often gives a pathogenic strain of bacteria a way to "stick" to a cell it wants to invade, and/or to avoid removal by the host immune system. Because it's so often used as a tool for invading organisms, and because there are no (currently) known archael pathogens, it shouldn't be surprising that archae don't have this type of capsule, although they are known to have some extra "stuff" on the outside of their cell walls.

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