Nucleotide pools and adenylate energy charge in balanced and unbalanced growth of Chromatium

M L Miović, J Gibson
Journal of Bacteriology 1973, 114 (1): 86-95
Adenine nucleotide pools and their energy charge were measured during balanced and unbalanced growth of photoheterotrophic Chromatium cultures. The methods used involved rapid sampling, accurate to within 1 s, from isotopically labeled cultures followed by chromatographic separation of individual nucleotides. During balanced growth, both energy charge and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) concentrations, whether expressed as a function of cell protein or intracellular water, were slightly higher in limiting light intensities than in cultures growing at their maximal rate in bright light. The ATP found corresponded to 4.67 +/- 0.08 nmol/mg of protein or 1.34 +/- 0.57 mM for low-light cells and to 4.41 +/- 0.58 mmol/mg of protein or 0.85 +/- 0.12 mM for high-light cells. Corresponding energy charges were 0.85 +/- 0.02 and 0.81 +/- 0.02. Illumination shifts caused differential synthesis of photosynthetic pigments lasting 2 to 3 h without corresponding perturbation of adenine nucleotide levels. Cultures in intermittent illumination were severely affected by some cycle durations; they had abnormal morphology and very high bacteriochlorophyll-to-protein ratios. In such cultures, energy charge and nucleotide concentrations were within normal limits and relaxed to the dark steady state during the dark periods. Arsenate at AsO(4) (3-) to PO(4) (3-) ratios of 10:1 in the medium retarded growth, but no abnormality of charge or quantity of phosphate-containing nucleotides was found. These experiments therefore suggest that, within experimental error, neither the size nor the charge of the adenylate pools governs growth rate in Chromatium. Moreover, these parameters do not appear to be concerned in regulating the synthesis of photosynthetic apparatus in this organism.

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