Effects of the Membrane Action of Tetralin on the Functional and Structural Properties of Artificial and Bacterial Membranes


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    Tetralin is toxic to bacterial cells at concentrations below 100-mu-mol/liter. To assess the inhibitory action of tetralin on bacterial membranes, a membrane model system, consisting of proteoliposomes in which beef heart cytochrome c oxidase was reconstituted as the proton motive force-generating mechanism, and several gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were studied. Because of its hydrophobicity, tetralin partitioned into lipid membranes preferentially (lipid/buffer partition coefficient of tetralin is approximately 1,100). The excessive accumulation of tetralin caused expansion of the membrane and impairment of different membrane functions. Studies with proteoliposomes and intact cells indicated that tetralin makes the membrane permeable for ions (protons) and inhibits the respiratory enzymes, which leads to a partial dissipation of the pH gradient and electrical potential. The effect of tetralin on the components of the proton motive force as well as disruption of protein-lipid interaction(s) could lead to impairment of various metabolic functions and to low growth rates. The data offer an explanation for the difficulty in isolating and cultivating microorganisms in media containing tetralin or other lipophilic compounds.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)2986-2992
    Aantal pagina's7
    TijdschriftJournal of Bacteriology
    Nummer van het tijdschrift9
    StatusPublished - mei-1992

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