, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 231-238

pH-Dependent metabolism of thiosulfate and sulfur globules in the chemolithotrophic marine bacterium Thiomicrospira crunogena

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Respiring cells of the chemolithotrophic bacterium Thiomicrospira crunogena produced sulfur globules from the sulfane sulfur of thiosulfate below pH 7, and consumed the globules above pH 7. The switch in metabolism was immediate and reversible upon titration of the culture. The consumed sulfur globules remained in a membrane-bound form and were not oxidized unless the medium was depleted of thiosulfate. Sulfur globule production but not uptake was blocked by azide. Anoxia, thiol-binding agents, and inhibitors of protein synthesis blocked globule uptake. Transitory accumulations of sulfite and polythionates appeared to be reaction products of thiosulfate and sulfur globules. A model depicting the pH sensitivity and biochemistry of sulfur globule production and consumption is proposed.