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Arch Microbiol. 1977 Mar 1;112(2):133-40.

Isolation and characterization of gas vesicles from Microcyclus aquaticus.


Intact gas vesicles of Microcyclus aquaticus S1 were isolated by using centrifugally accelerated flotation of vesicles and molecular sieve chromatography. Isolated gas vesicles were cylindrical organelles with biconical ends and measured 250x100nm. The gas vesicle membrane was composed almost entirely of protein; neither lipid nor carbohydrate was detected, although one mole of phosphate per mole of protein was found. Amino acid analysis indicated that the protein contained 54.6% hydrophobic amino acid residues, lacked sulfur-containing amino acids, and had a low aromatic amino acid content. The protein subunit composition of the vesicles was determined by gel electrophoresis in (i) 0.1% sodium dodecyl sulfate at pH 9.0 and (ii) 5 M urea at pH 2.0. The membrane appeared to consist of one protein subunit of MW 50000 daltons. Charge isomers of this subunit were not detected on urea gels. Antiserum prepared against purified gas vesicles of M. aquaticus S1 crossreacted with the gas vesicles of all other gas vacuolate strains of M. aquaticus, as well as those of Prosthecomicrobium pneumaticum, Nostoc muscorum, and Anabaena flos-aquae, indicating that the gas vesicles of these widely divergent organisms have some antigenic determinants in common.

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