EPR study of thylakoid membrane dynamics in mutants of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803
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EPR spectroscopy using 5-doxylstearic acid (5-SASL) and 16-doxylstearic acid (16-SASL) spin probes was used to study the fluidity of thylakoid membranes. These were isolated from wild type Synechocystis and from several mutants in genes encoding selected enzymes of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway and/or acyl-lipid desaturases. Cyanobacteria were cultivated at 25°C and 35°C under different light regimes: photoautotrophically (PAG) and/or in light-activated heterotrophic conditions (LAHG). The relative fluidity of membranes was estimated from EPR spectra based on the empirical outermost splitting parameter in a temperature range from 15°C to 40°C. Our findings demonstrate that in native thylakoid membranes the elimination of xanthophylls decreased fluidity in the inner membrane region under optimal growth conditions (25°C) and increased it under sublethal heat stress (35°C). This indicated that the overall fluidity of native photosynthetic membranes in cyanobacteria may be influenced by the ratio of polar to non-polar carotenoid pools under different environmental conditions.
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