Adaptational changes of fatty acid composition and the physical state of membrane lipids following the change of growth temperature in Yersinia enterocolitica

E. Nagamachi, S. Shibuya, Y. Hirai, O. Matsushita, K. Tomochika, Y. Kanemasa

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Yersinia enterocolitica is capable of growing in a broad range of temperatures from 4 to 45 C. How this organism alters its membrane lipids in response to the change of growth temperature is very interesting. The fatty acids of membrane lipids of cells cultured at 5, 15, 25 and 37 C were analyzed and the physical states of these membrane lipids were characterized. The major phospholipids of this bacterium were phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, cardiolipin, lysophosphatidylglycerol and lysophosphatidylethanolamine. No significant difference in phospholipid composition in response to culture temperatures was observed. It was reported in our previous paper that the major fatty acids of membrane phospholipids of Y. enterocolitica were C(15:0), C(16:0), C(16:1), cyclopropane C(17:0) and C(18:0). Some differences in the fatty acid composition were, however, observed with the change of culture temperature. When the culture temperature was raised, the saturated and cyclopropane fatty acids substantially increased and the unsaturated ones decreased. A reverse phenomenon was observed when culture temperature was lowered. From the viewpoints of membrane physical state, adaptational changes were analyzed using a nylon microcapsule method. Phase transition in membrane lipids of cells grown at each culture temperature took place in the range of about 5 C below and about 10 C above the culture temperature. It is, therefore, considered that Y. enterocolitica maintains its membrane rigidity and fiuidity in response to growth temperature by changing the membrane fatty acid composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1093
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobiology and Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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