Membrane dynamics as seen by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in a cyanobacterium, Synechocystis PCC 6803 - The effects of lipid unsaturation and the protein-to-lipid ratio

Balázs Szalontai, Yoshitake Nishiyama, Zoltán Gombos, Norio Murata

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The roles of lipid unsaturation and lipid-protein interactions in maintaining the physiologically required membrane dynamics were investigated in a cyanobacterium strain, Synechocystis PCC 6803. The specific effects of lipid unsaturation on the membrane structure were addressed by the use of desaturase-deficient (desA-/desD-) mutant cells (which contain only oleic acid as unsaturated fatty acid species) of Synechocystis PCC 6803. The dynamic properties of the membranes were determined from the temperature dependence of the symmetric CH2 stretching vibration frequency, which is indicative of the lipid fatty acyl chain disorder. It was found that a similar membrane dynamics is maintained at any growth temperature, in both the wild-type and the mutant cell membranes, with the exception of mutant cells grown at the lower physiological temperature limit. It seems that in the physiological temperature range the desaturase system of the cells can modulate the level of lipid desaturation sufficiently to maintain similar membrane dynamics. Below the range of normal growth temperatures, however, the extent of lipid disorder was always higher in the thylakoid than in the cytoplasmic membranes prepared from the same cells. This difference was attributed to the considerable difference in protein-to-lipid ratio in the two kinds of membranes, as determined from the ratio of the intensities of the protein amide I band and the lipid ester C = O vibration. The contributions to the membrane dynamics of an ab ovo present 'structural' lipid disorder due to the protein-lipid interactions and of a thermally induced 'dynamic' lipid disorder could be distinguished. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2000



  • (Synechocystis PCC 6803)
  • Desaturase deficient mutant
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Lipid
  • Membrane dynamics
  • Protein-to-lipid ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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