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Archaeal lipids are constituted of two isoprenoid chains connected via ether bonds to glycerol in the sn-2, 3 position. Due to these unique properties archaeal lipids are significantly more stable against high temperature, low pH, oxidation and enzymatic degradation than conventional lipids. Additionally, in members of the phylum Crenarchaeota condensation of two (monopolar) archaeal diether lipids to a single (bipolar) tetraether lipid as well as formation of cyclopentane rings in the isoprenoid core strongly reduce permeability of the crenarchaeal membranes. In this work we show that the Crenarchaeum Sulfolobus acidocaldarius changes its lipid composition as reaction to a shift in growth rate caused by nutrient limitation. We thereby identified a novel influencing factor for the lipid composition of S. acidocaldarius and were able to determine the effect of this factor on the lipid composition by using MALDI-MS for the semi-quantification of an archaeal lipidome: a shift in the specific growth rate during a controlled continuous cultivation of S. acidocaldarius from 0.011 to 0.035 h led to a change in the ratio of diether to tetraether lipids from 1:3 to 1:5 and a decrease of the average number of cyclopentane rings from 5.1 to 4.6.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions
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