1887

Abstract

Alkaliphilic OF4, which has a broad pH growth range of 7.5 to above 10.5, is yellow-pigmented due to carotenoids. Carotenoids contribute to membrane rigidity and can alleviate cellular oxidative stress. This study was undertaken to gain insight into the roles carotenoids play in alkaliphile physiology. Carotenoid content was high in stationary phase and in cells grown nonfermentatively at pH 10.5 A colourless mutant was isolated by the in-frame deletion of a key carotenogenic gene, . In cells grown to stationary phase in a pH 10.5 medium with a suboptimal concentration of Na, the ∆ strain exhibited lower resistance to paraquat and hydrogen peroxide. Preincubation of the mutant in a nutrient-free pH 10.5 buffer revealed a pronounced sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide in growth at pH 7.5. In growth curves in media with optimal or suboptimal nutrient concentrations conducted at 37°, the mutant grew identically to the wild-type at pH 7.5 but its lag time was longer than the wild-type at pH 10.5 and growth was slower when the carbon source, malate, was limiting. When the temperature of the growth curves was lowered to 25°, the mutant no longer had a pH 10.5 phenotype, implicating the effect of carotenoids on membrane rigidity for the pH 10.5 growth phenotype. These results suggest that carotenoids in OF4 play a role in managing oxidative stress when cells are adapting to other stressful conditions such as nutrient limitation while also helping to maintain membrane fluidity/rigidity balance for membrane-linked functions.

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2019-09-01
2019-09-18
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