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Role of Lipid Components in Formation and Reactivation of Mycobacterium smegmatis “Nonculturable” Cells

E. V. Nazarova1,2*, M. O. Shleeva1, N. S. Morozova2, Yu. K. Kudykina1, G. N. Vostroknutova1, A. O. Ruzhitsky1, A. A. Selishcheva3, G. M. Sorokoumova2, V. I. Shvets2, and A. S. Kaprelyants1

1Bach Institute of Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky pr. 33, 119071 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 954-2732; E-mail: eugenial@yandex.ru

2Lomonosov Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology, pr. Vernadskogo 86, 119571 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 434-8233; E-mail: galinams@yandex.ru

3Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 939-4309; E-mail: aselo@yandex.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 14, 2010; Revision received February 22, 2011
We have found that transition of actively dividing Mycobacterium smegmatis cells into the dormant “nonculturable” state is accompanied by increase in the protein/lipid ratio and disappearance of one of the main lipid components of the mycobacterial cells, trehalose monomycolate. In this case, oleic acid is accumulated in the culture medium due to its secretion by the mycobacterial cells. Addition of lipids of different classes to “nonculturable” M. smegmatis cells induces their resuscitation. The lipid reactivating effect is evidently caused by the presence of fatty acids in their composition, because free fatty acids also exhibited reactivation effect. Oleic acid in concentration of 0.05-3 μg/ml exhibited maximal effect, and that allows us to draw a conclusion concerning its signal role in the transition of dormant cells into active state.
KEY WORDS: mycobacteria, “nonculturable” state, oleic acid, lipids, reactivation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297911060034