Comparative study of metal induced phospholipid modifications in the heavy metal tolerant filamentous fungus Paecilomyces marquandii and implications for the fungal membrane integrity
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In this work we compared the effect of five heavy metals: Zn, Pb, Cd, Ni and Cu on phospholipid composition of the ubiquitous soil fungus Paecilomyces marquandii, originating from a strongly metal polluted area and characterized by high tolerance to these elements. Cd, Ni and Cu caused an increase in phosphatidylcholine (PC). Only Pb decreased PC content, which was accompanied by a significant rise in the phosphatidic acids (PA) level, probably due to activation of phospholipase D which hydrolyzes PC to PA. This could result in membrane fluidity disturbance, and thus affect its integrity. The assessment of propidium iodide influx showed strong disturbance of membrane integrity for Cu and Pb stressed mycelia, whereas mycelia treated with Ni were impermeable to this dye. The results obtained revealed a strong Cu and Pb toxicity involving disruption of membrane integrity. Pb action was reflected by lipid composition, whereas changes in Cu treated mycelia did not completely elucidate its harmful effect on the membrane, which was most probably caused by Cu induced lipid peroxidation. Zn did not induce quantitative changes in PC and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) but caused changes in phospholipid lipid saturation, which appears to be important for fungus adaptation to the presence of metals. The enhanced PC content balanced by higher PC saturation can help in the maintenance of proper membrane fluidity and result in alleviating the Cd and Ni induced stress. These results will allow to clarify the mechanism of Pb toxicity and help to elucidate the cellular basis of fungal membrane adaptation to heavy metals.
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