Extremophiles

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 411–419

Tetraether-linked membrane monolayers in Ferroplasma spp: a key to survival in acid

  • Jennifer L. Macalady
  • Martha M. Vestling
  • David Baumler
  • Nick Boekelheide
  • Charles W. Kaspar
  • Jillian F. Banfield
Original Paper

Abstract

Ferroplasma acidarmanus thrives in hot, extremely low pH, metal-rich solutions associated with dissolving metal sulfide ore deposits. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry and thin layer chromatography analyses of F. acidarmanus membranes indicate that tetraether lipids predominate, with at least three core lipid structures. NMR measurements indicate that the cytoplasmic pH of F. acidarmanus is ~5.6. The optimal growth pH is ~1.2, and the lowest growth pH is ~0.0. Thus, these organisms maintain pH gradients across their membranes that approach 5 pH units. Tetraether lipids were originally thought to be specifically associated with thermophiles but are now known to be widely distributed within the archaeal domain. Our data, in combination with recently published results for thermophilic and mesothermophilic acidophilic archaea, indicate that there may be a stronger association between tetraether lipids and tolerance to acid and/or large metal ion gradients.

Keywords

Archaea Acidophile Acid mine drainage Tetraether lipid Membrane monolayer 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Macalady
    • 1
    • 6
  • Martha M. Vestling
    • 2
  • David Baumler
    • 3
  • Nick Boekelheide
    • 4
  • Charles W. Kaspar
    • 3
  • Jillian F. Banfield
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of Wisconsin MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food Microbiology and ToxicologyUniversity of Wisconsin MadisonMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Geology DepartmentCarleton CollegeNorthfieldUSA
  5. 5.Department of Environmental Science, Policy and ManagementUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  6. 6.Geology DepartmentCarleton CollegeNorthfieldUSA

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