The application of pH-sensitive fluorescent dyes in lactic acid bacteria reveals distinct extrusion systems for unmodified and conjugated dyes

E Glaasker, W.N Konings, B. Poolman

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Abstract

Intracellular pH in bacteria can be measured efficiently between internal pH values of 6.5 and 8.5 with the fluorescent pH indicator 2',7'-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5[and-6]-carboxyfluorescein (BCECF). A new fluorescent pH probe with a lower pK(a)(app) than BCECF was synthesized from fluorescein isothiocyanate and glutamate. The new probe, N-(fluorescein thio-ureanyl)-glutamate (FTUG), was much less sensitive to changes in concentrations of KCI than was BCECF. Similar to BCECF, an efflux of FTUG independent of the proton motive force, but dependent on ATP, was observed both in Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactococcus lactis. Corrections for probe efflux allowed accurate measurements of the pH(in). Similar intracellular pH values were determined with FTUG and BCECF, in the range where both probes can be applied, and the pH values correlated well with those estimated from the distribution of radio-labelled benzoic acid. Since FITC can easily be coupled to substrates containing an amino group, it is possible to develop other FITC derivatives as well. The mechanisms of probe excretion and the nature of the excreted product(s) were studied in further detail for BCECF and FTUG. BCECF was excreted from wild-type L, lactis in an unmodified form as was determined by chromatographic and mass spectrometry analysis. In the case of FTUG, the excreted product was a conjugated derivative. Unmodified FTUG was not excreted, although it was present in cellular extracts from L. lactis. Exit of BCECF was completely inhibited in a BCECF efflux mutant (Bef(-)) of L. lactis, whereas FTUG-conjugate efflux in this mutant was similar to the wild-type. Addition of indomethacin, a known inhibitor of BCECF efflux in human epithelial cells, resulted in complete inhibition of BCECF efflux in wild-type L. lactis, whereas FTUG-conjugate exit was only slightly affected. The results of the mutant and inhibitor studies suggest that FTUG-conjugate and BCECF efflux in L. lactis are mediated by different ATP-driven extrusion systems for organic anions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173 - 181
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Membrane Biology
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Keywords

  • BCECF
  • fluorescent pH indicators
  • dye conjugates
  • extrusion
  • efflux
  • PROTON MOTIVE FORCE
  • GLUTAMINE TRANSPORT-SYSTEM
  • INTRACELLULAR PH
  • MULTIDRUG-RESISTANCE
  • LACTOCOCCUS-LACTIS
  • STREPTOCOCCUS-CREMORIS
  • CYTOPLASMIC PH
  • INTERNAL PH
  • EFFLUX
  • CELLS

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