Adjusting membrane lipids under salt stress: the case of the moderate halophilic organismHalobacillus halophilus

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The lipid composition ofHalobacillus halophiluswas investigated by combined thin-layer chromatography and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry analyses of the total lipid extract. Main polar lipids were found to be sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol and phosphatidylglycerol, while cardiolipin was a minor lipid together with phosphatidic acid, alanyl-phosphatidylglycerol and two not yet fully identified lipid components. In addition the analyses of residual lipids, associated with denatured proteins after the lipid extraction, revealed the presence of significant amounts of cardiolipin, indicating that it is a not readily extractable phospholipid. Post decay source mass spectrometry analyses allowed the determination of acyl chains of main lipid components. On increasing the culture medium salinity, an increase in the shorter chains and the presence of chain unsaturations were observed. These changes in the lipid core structures might compensate for the increase in packing and rigidity of phospholipid and sulfoglycolipid polar heads in high-salt medium, therefore contributing to the homeostasis of membrane fluidity and permeability in salt stress conditions.

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