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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2005 Feb 1;243(1):133-40.

Formation of volutin granules in Corynebacterium glutamicum.

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Institut für Biotechnologie (IBT-1), Forschungszentrum Jülich, D-52425 Jülich, Germany.


Volutin granules are intracellular storages of complexed inorganic polyphosphate (poly P). Histochemical staining procedures differentiate between pathogenic corynebacteria such as Corynebacterum diphtheriae (containing volutin) and non-pathogenic species, such as C. glutamicum. Here we report that strains ATCC13032 and MH20-22B of the non-pathogenic C. glutamicum also formed subcellular entities (18-37% of the total cell volume) that had the typical characteristics of volutin granules: (i) volutin staining, (ii) green UV fluorescence when stained with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, (iii) electron-dense and rich in phosphorus when determined with transmission electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis, and (iv) 31P NMR poly P resonances of isolated granules dissolved in EDTA. MgCl2 addition to the growth medium stimulated granule formation but did not effect expression of genes involved in poly P metabolism. Granular volutin fractions from lysed cells contained polyphosphate glucokinase as detected by SDS-PAGE/MALDI-TOF, indicating that this poly P metabolizing enzyme is present also in intact poly P granules. The results suggest that formation of volutin is a more widespread phenomenon than generally accepted.

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