, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 455–465 | Cite as

Structural and physiological diversity among cystlike resting cells of bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas

  • A. L. Mulyukin
  • N. E. Suzina
  • V. I. Duda
  • G. I. El’-Registan
Experimental Articles


Cystlike resting cells (CRC) of non-spore-forming gram-negative bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas, P. aurantiaca and P. fluorescens, were obtained and characterized for the first time; their physiological and morphological diversity was demonstrated. The following properties were common for all the revealed types of CRC as dormant forms: (1) long-term (up to 6 months or longer) maintenance of viability in the absence of culture growth and cell respiration; (2) absence of an experimentally detectable level of metabolism; (3) higher resistance to damage and autolysis under the action of provoking factors than in metabolically active vegetative cells; and (4) specific features of ultrastructural organization absent in vegetative cells: thickened and lamellar envelopes, clumpy structure of the cytoplasm, and condensed DNA in nucleoid. The differences in various types of CRC concern the thickness and lamellar structure of cell envelopes, as well as the presence and thickness of the capsular layer. In particular, forms ultrastructurally similar to typical bacterial cysts were revealed in pseudomonad populations growing on soil agar. Physiological diversity was revealed in different levels of viability preservation and thermal resistance in various types of CRC and depended on the conditions of their formation. The optimal conditions and procedures for obtaining P. aurantiaca and P. fluorescens CRC that retain the ability to form colonies on standard nutrient media are as follows: (1) a twofold decrease of nitrogen content in the growth medium; (2) an increased level of anabiosis autoinducer (C12-AHB, 10−4 M) in stationary cultures; (3) transfer of the cells from stationary cultures to a starvation medium with silica; (4) cultivation in soil extract; and (5) development of cultures on soil agar. The CRC from the cultures grown in soil extract or starvation medium with silica proved to be resistant to heat treatment (60°C, 5 min). In the CRC formed in nitrogen-limited media, the degree of heat resistance increased at longer incubation (1.5 to 6 months). CRCs on soil agar surface were resistant to desiccation. The ultrastructure of the morphologically varied types of P. aurantiaca CRC formed under simulated natural conditions is described for the first time. The data on the intraspecies diversity of pseudomonad dormant forms contribute to the concept of plasticity of the life style and adaptive reactions that ensure survival of these bacteria in unfavorable environmental conditions.

Key words

dormancy cystlike cells anabiotic cells stress resistance polymorphism of dormant forms anabiosis autoinducers alkyl hydroxybenzenes 


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Copyright information

© MAIK Nauka 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. L. Mulyukin
    • 1
  • N. E. Suzina
    • 2
  • V. I. Duda
    • 2
  • G. I. El’-Registan
    • 1
  1. 1.Winogradsky Institute of MicrobiologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of MicroorganismsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscow oblastRussia

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