Regulation of Membrane Fluidity in Anaerobic Bacteria

  • Howard Goldfine
  • Norah C. Johnston
Part of the Experimental Biology and Medicine book series (EBAM, volume 1)


Since life on earth began in an anaerobic environment, some of the present day anaerobes presumably represent a closer link to the earliest epochs than organisms that evolved after the atmosphere became aerobic. A study of the membranes of anaerobes may reveal some of the most primitive ways in which living organisms have coped with environmental changes. A wealth of information has accumulated over the past 15 years showing the importance of membrane lipids in assuring continued membrane function over a wide range of temperatures. Many anaerobes belonging to such diverse groups as the gram positive Clostridia, gram-negative bacteroides and cocci, and some spirochetes have been found to have substantial amounts of plasmalogens in addition to diacylphosphatides among their membrane lipid components (GoIdfine and Hagen, 1972). Although these lipids which are characterized by a 1-O-alk-l’-enyl 2-acyl glycerophosphate structure (Fig. la), have been known for many years as constituents of mammalian tissues (Debuch and Seng, 1972), little is known about their precise functions.


Acyl Chain Polar Head Group Lower Growth Temperature Chain Composition Exogenous Fatty Acid 
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Copyright information

© The HUMANA Press Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Goldfine
    • 1
  • Norah C. Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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