The effects of changes in fatty acid composition of the cell membrane on different biological functions ofSalmonella typhimurium have been studied with the help of a temperature sensitive fatty acid auxotroph which cannot synthesise unsaturated fatty acids at high temperature. On being shifted to nonpermissive temperature the cells continue growing for another one and half to two generations. The rates of protein and DNA syntheses run parallel to the growth rate but the rate of RNA synthesis is reduced. Further, there is a gradual reduction in the rate of transport of exogenous uridine and thymidine into the soluble pool. The transport process can be restored by supplementing the growth medium with cis-unsaturated fatty acids but not trans-unsaturated ones although the growth of the cells is resumed by supplementation with eithercis or trans-unsaturated fatty acids. However, supplementation withtrans, trans-unsaturated fatty acids leads to only partial recovery of the transport process. The rate of oxygen uptake is also affected in cells grown in the presence of thetrans-unsaturated fatty acids, elaidic acid and palmitelaidic acid. Analysis of cells grown under different fatty acid supplementation indicate that fatty acid composition of the cell membrane, especially the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids varies with temperature shift and supplementation of the growth media with fatty acids.
Volume 45, 2020
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