Mar 18, 1976

Regulation of cell volume and ion concentrations in a Halobacterium

The Journal of Membrane Biology
M Ginzburg, B Z Ginzburg


Changes in cell volume and ion content of a Halobacterium species are described in terms of the NaCl concentration (0.5--3.5M) and pH(4-8) of the suspending medium. Cell volume, per unit content of protein of bacteria in stationary phase cultures, rose as the [NaCl] of the growth medium was increased. Logarithmic-phase bacteria shrank as the pH fell from 7 to 5.5. These changes are characteristic of bacteria with a moderate or rapid rate of O2 consumption. Starving (i.e. nonmetabolizing) bacteria, on the other hand, did not change in size within the above ranges of [NaCl] and pH. At lower values, however, such bacteria swelled and eventually lysed. Effects of low pH on cell ions are compared in metabolizing and starving bacteria, and it is shown that changes in the state of the cell K are correlated with movements of cell Na. It appears that the cell K is used to maintain cell [Na] below the NaCl concentration of the medium. The results are explained in terms of a model involving interactions between polyelectrolytes, salts and water in the concentrated cytoplasm of these halophilic organisms.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Chloride Ion Level
Bacterial Proteins
Cell Division Phases
Sodium Chloride
Stationary Phase - Research Equipment
Sodium Chloride, (24)NaCl

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