Wednesday, May 27, 2015

215 - Respiratory protection of nitrogenase in Azotobacter vinelandii

This study is pretty similar to 214, on how oxygen levels influence the respiratory chain of Azotobacter vinelandii.

What They Saw
They grew cells in batch at low aeration, and then increased the aeration to expose cells to excess oxygen.

The results were similar to 214: when aeration increased, cells stopped growing until respiration had ramped up and leveled off. Despite the large increase in respiration, cellular ATP levels dropped 40%. P/O ratios decreased as respiration increased to accommodate the increased oxygen, at least for NADH dehydrogenase.

They tried adding chloramphenicol again, since last time it didn't affect the growth lag, but this time observed that it lessened the increase in respiration about half, and prevented cytochrome a2 and other dehydrogenase increases.

What This Means
The M/N ratio, meaning maintenance M (moles ATP consumed per weight of cells over time) over phosphorylating efficiency N (P/O ratio x 2), explains doubling of respiratory activity upon increase in oxygen only if M increases or N decreases. It doesn't seem like M does increase, so N seems to be decreasing, because respiration uncouples from phosphorylation.

A. vinelandii seems to have different branches in its respiratory chain, which allows it to tolerate different and suddenly changing levels of oxygen.

Jones, C. W., Brice, J. M., Wright, V. & Ackrell, B. A. C. Respiratory protection of nitrogenase in Azotobacter vinelandii. FEBS Letters 29, 77–81 (1973).

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