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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1990 Oct 22;1047(1):77-82.

Role of anionic lipid in bacterial membranes.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula 59812.


The major phospholipids of Bacillus stearothermophilus are phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylglycerol (PG), and cardiolipin (CL). Under the growth conditions used in this study the concentration of anionic lipid (PG + CL) was determined by the pH of the culture medium. Cells grown in a complex medium at pH 5.8, 7.0, and 8.0 contained 17, 29 and 36 nmol of anionic (PG + CL) lipid/mg cell (dry weight). The concentration of the zwitterionic lipid phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) was 17-20 nmol/mg cell (dry weight) under all conditions. Analysis of isolated membrane preparations suggested that the amount of anionic lipid per unit area of membrane increased as the pH of the growth medium was increased. Membranes from cells grown at pH 5.8 and 8.0 contained 130 and 320 nmol anionic lipid/mg membrane protein, respectively. Phosphatidylethanolamine appeared to be localized on the inner membrane surface in cells grown under all conditions. Increasing the ionic strength of the culture medium by the addition of NaCl or KCl had little effect on growth at pH 5.8 but inhibited growth at pH 7 and 8. It was concluded that anionic phospholipid plays an important physiological role in maintaining an acidic pH at the outer membrane surface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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