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Lipids. 1996 Aug;31(8):811-5.

cis/trans isomerization of unsaturated fatty acids as possible control mechanism of membrane fluidity in Pseudomonas putida P8.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Muenster, Germany.


Exponentially growing cells of Pseudomonas putida had an increased ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids in response to increased growth temperatures. Resting cells in which fatty acid biosynthesis was stopped reacted to a thermal increase by converting cis-monounsaturated fatty acids to trans isomers. cis/trans Isomerization of up to 60% of the unsaturated fatty acids was also activated by alcohols of different chain length. Their effective concentrations apparently depended on the lipophilic character of the alcohols. Also, a salt shock caused by the addition of NaCl resulted in the production of trans fatty acids. However, cells that were adapted to growth media of high osmolarity synthesized cyclopropane fatty acids instead of trans fatty acids. Activity of cis/trans-isomerase was dependent on the growth phase and was significantly higher during logarithmic growth than during the stationary phase. The results of this study agree with the hypothesis that the isomerization of cis into trans unsaturated fatty acids is an emergency action of cells of P. putida to adapt membrane fluidity to drastic changes of environmental conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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