1887

Abstract

Potassium cyanide at submillimolar concentrations (20–500 μM) inhibited the high respiration rates of aerobic cultures of but, remarkably, stimulated culture growth. In batch culture, after an extended lag phase, exponential growth persisted longer, resulting in higher biomass densities. In aerobic chemostat cultures, elevated biomass concentration was observed in the presence of cyanide. This growth stimulation effect is attributed to decreased production of the inhibitory metabolite acetaldehyde at lowered respiration rates, when more reducing equivalents are channelled to alcohol dehydrogenase. Growth in the presence of cyanide did not alter the membrane cytochrome content. In non-growing cyanide-preincubated cells, with ethanol as the respiratory substrate, cyanide increased ATP levels; in such cells, a large part of the cyanide-sensitive respiration was inhibited within a few seconds after ethanol addition, while inhibition of the rest of respiration took several minutes. The more cyanide-sensitive respiration was apparently energy-nongenerating, and was absent in membrane preparations. Pelleting of membranes from cell-free extracts produced ‘soluble’ fractions in which a type haem was detectable by reduced oxidized difference spectroscopy. The function of the respiratory chain in cell growth and respiratory protection, and the possible physiological role of aerobic generation of inhibitory metabolites, are discussed.

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2000-06-01
2019-08-19
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