Wednesday, May 27, 2015

214 - The Respiratory System of Azotobacter vinelandii 2. Oxygen Effects

This study looks at how oxygen levels influence the respiratory chain in Azotobacter vinelandii.

What They Saw
They grew cells with high or low aeration (based on volume of culture in the same size flask), then isolated respiratory membranes and measured P/O ratios.

The cells grew and quickly used up all the dissolved oxygen. With high aeration, they grew much faster and leveled off once the oxygen was gone, and with low aeration the growth was slower (not even really logarithmic) but continued long after the oxygen was gone. Respiratory activities were 2-5x higher when cells were growing logarithmically with excess oxygen than when oxygen was limited.

If they suddenly increased the aeration when oxygen had run out, respiratory activity increased back up to high levels (1000 μl/h/mg dry weight). Cells didn't start growing again until it had leveled off. This lag was the same when chloramphenicol (which inhibits protein synthesis) was present, suggesting that it wasn't due to the synthesis of new enzymes for respiration.

When oxygen was being consumed, cytochrome and oxidase levels were pretty constant (except cyt o oxidase, which increased), but when oxygen ran out, levels of c4, c5, and b1 increased quickly and a2 more slowly. Cytochrome o oxidase and a2 oxidase also increased a lot, a1 less so. The increase of o was fastest and greatest.

P/O ratios were similar to those seen before at maximum, but they didn't reach this maximum until oxygen was mostly used up late in the logarithmic growth phase, at least for NADH dehydrogenase.

With low aeration, cytochrome levels were pretty constant (since oxygen ran out almost immediately), increasing just a little, except for cyt a2 oxidase which went up pretty constantly. P/O ratios were pretty level too, and fairly high, similar to when oxygen ran out in high aeration.

What This Means
This kind of pattern fits in well with those seen in other obligate aerobes. Cytochromes probably increase during oxygen limitation to try to compensate for the limitation. But the low P/O ratios at high oxygen makes sense in light of respiratory protection; respiration is uncoupled from energy generation.

Ackrell, B. A. C. & Jones, C. W. The Respiratory System of Azotobacter vinelandii 2. Oxygen Effects. Eur. J. Biochem. 20, 29–35 (1971).

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