Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 157, Issue 2, pp 183–190 | Cite as

Respiratory activity in the marine cyanobacterium Spirulina subsalsa and its role in salt tolerance

  • Rachel Gabbay-Azaria
  • Mordechay Schonfeld
  • Shoshana Tel-Or
  • Rachel Messinger
  • Elisha Tel-Or
Original Papers


Intracellular ion concentration and respiratory activity in the marine cyanobacterium Spirulina subsalsa was analyzed during cell transition from saline to hypersaline medium. During salt upshock, an early phase of Na+ and Cl- influx was observed, followed by an adaptation phase where both Na+ and Cl- were excluded from the cell. Respiration in intact cells was enhanced during salt upshock. S. subsalsa spheroplasts exhibited a high rate of O2 uptake, which was further enhanced in cells grown in hypersaline medium, upon addition of NaCl to the assay mixture. This effect was found to be specific to sodium ions. Plasma membrane fractions from cells grown in hypersaline medium exhibited a high rate of cytochrome oxidase activity, which was further stimulated by NaCl, and was sensitive to DCCD. Immunoblot analysis of Spirulina plasma membrane polypeptides with anti-cytochrome oxidase serum demonstrated high content of 53.4 kDa polypeptide of cytochrome oxidase, which was enriched in membranes obtained from hypersaline Spirulina cells. The enhanced respiration, and more specifically the enrichment of cytochrome oxidase activity in salt-adapted cells in situ, as well as its stimulation by NaCl in vitro and inhibition by DCCD, suggest that cytochrome oxidase is involved in the extrusion of sodium ions from cells of the salt-tolerant Spirulina subsalsa.

Key words

Respiration Cytochrome oxidase H+-Pumps Na+-Translocation Osmoregulation Spirulina subsalsa 





carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone


N, N, N′, N′, tetramethyl p-phenylenediamine dichloride


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Gabbay-Azaria
    • 1
  • Mordechay Schonfeld
    • 1
  • Shoshana Tel-Or
    • 2
  • Rachel Messinger
    • 3
  • Elisha Tel-Or
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural BotanyThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Organic ChemistryThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Field-CropsThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael

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