Ion permeability of the cytoplasmic membrane limits the maximum growth temperature of bacteria and archaea

J.L C M van de Vossenberg, T. Ubbink-Kok, M.G.L. Elferink, A.J.M. Driessen, W.N Konings

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Abstract

Protons and sodium ions are the most commonly used coupling ions in energy transduction in bacteria and archaea. At their growth temperature, the permeability of the cytoplasmic membrane of thermophilic bacteria to protons is high compared with that of sodium ions. In some thermophiles, sodium is the sole energy-coupling ion. To test whether sodium is the preferred coupling ion at high temperatures, the proton- and sodium permeability was determined in liposomes prepared from lipids isolated from various bacterial and archaeal species that differ in their optimal growth temperature. The proton permeability increased with the temperature and was comparable for most species at their respective growth temperatures. Liposomes of thermophilic bacteria are an exception in the sense that the proton permeability is already high at the growth temperature. In all liposomes, the sodium permeability was lower than the proton permeability and increased with the temperature. The results suggest that the proton permeability of the cytoplasmic membrane is an important parameter in determining the maximum growth temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925 - 932
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-1995

Keywords

  • CLOSTRIDIUM-FERVIDUS
  • BACILLUS-STEAROTHERMOPHILUS
  • PHOSPHOLIPID-BILAYERS
  • BIOLOGICAL-MEMBRANES
  • PROTON CONDUCTANCE
  • THERMAL ADAPTATION
  • LIPID BILAYERS
  • SP-NOV
  • TRANSPORT
  • ACID

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