The ultrastructure of plasma and thylakoid membrane vesicles from the fresh water cyanobacterium anacystis nidulans adapted to salinity
Molitor, V.; Kuntner, O.; Sleytr, U.B.; Peschek, G.A.
Protoplasma 157(1-3): 112-119
Photoautotrophically growing cultures of the fresh water cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans adapted to the presence of 0.4-0.5 M NaCl (about sea water level) with a lag phase of two days after which time the growth rate reassumed 80-90% of the control. Plasma and thylakoid membranes were separated from cell-free extracts of French pressure cell treated Anacystis nidulans by discontinuous sucrose density gradient centrifugation and purified by repeated recentrifugation on fresh gradients. Identity of the plasma and thylakoid membrane fractions was confirmed by labeling of intact cells with impermeant protein markers prior to breakage and membrane isolation. Electron microscopy revealed that each type of membrane was obtained in the form of closed and perfectly spherical vesicles. Major changes in structure and function of the plasma membranes (and, to a much lesser extent, of the thylakoid membranes) were found to accompany the adaptation process. On the average, diameters of plasma membrane vesicles from salt adapted cells were only one-third of the diameters of corresponding vesicles from control cells. By contrast, the diameters of thylakoid membrane vesicles were the same in both cases. Freeze-etching the cells and counting the number of membrane-intercalating particles on both protoplasmic and exoplasmic fracture faces of plasma and thylakoid membranes indicated a roughly 50% increase of the particle density in plasma membranes during the adaptation process while that in thylakoid membranes was unaffected. Comparison between particle densities on isolated membranes and those on corresponding whole cell membranes permitted an estimate as to the percentage of inside-out and right-side-out vesicles. Stereometric measurement of particle sizes suggested that two distinct sub-populations of the particles in the plasma membranes increased during the adaptation process, tentatively correlated to the cytochrome oxidase and sodium-proton antiporter, respectively. The effects of salt adaptation described in this paper were fully reversed upon withdrawal of the additional NaCl from the growth medium ("deadaptation"). Moreover, they were not observed when the NaCl was replaced by KCl.