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Evaluation of the Electrical Potential on the Membrane of the Extremely Alkaliphilic Bacterium Thioalkalivibrio

M. S. Muntyan*, D. A. Morozov, S. S. Klishin, N. V. Khitrin, and G. Ya. Kolomijtseva

Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 939-3181; E-mail: muntyan@genebee.msu.su

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received April 20, 2012
The electrical potential on the membrane was measured in cells of strains AL2 and ALJ15 of the extremely alkaliphilic bacterium Thioalkalivibrio versutus using the penetrating cation tetraphenylphosphonium (TPP+) and a TPP+-selective electrode. The potentials were –228 ± 5 and –224 ± 5 mV, respectively, i.e. higher than in most alkaliphilic bacteria. Membrane potential in the cells was estimated by measuring the inner cell volume by two independent methods: (1) estimation of total cell volume by light microscopy and (2) estimation of the inner aqueous volume of the cells with allowance for the distribution difference of tritium labeled water penetrating through the membranes and a nonpenetrating colored protein. The inner cell volume was 2.4 ± 0.2 and 2.2 ± 0.1 µl/mg of cell protein by the two methods, respectively. Computer computation was used as an alternative to manual calculation to count the number of cells for estimation of total cell volume.
KEY WORDS: electrochemical potential of H+ ions, transmembrane electric potential difference, alkaliphilic bacteria

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297912080135