Restricted Localization of Photosynthetic Intracytoplasmic Membranes (ICMs) in Multiple Genera of Purple Nonsulfur Bacteria

In bacteria and eukaryotes alike, proper cellular physiology relies on robust subcellular organization. For the phototrophic purple nonsulfur bacteria (PNSB), this organization entails the use of a light-harvesting, membrane-bound compartment known as the intracytoplasmic membrane (ICM). Here we show that ICMs are spatially and temporally localized in diverse patterns among PNSB. We visualized ICMs in live cells of 14 PNSB species across nine genera by exploiting the natural autofluorescence of the photosynthetic pigment bacteriochlorophyll (BChl). We then quantitatively characterized ICM localization using automated computational analysis of BChl fluorescence patterns within single cells across the population. We revealed that while many PNSB elaborate ICMs along the entirety of the cell, species across as least two genera restrict ICMs to discrete, nonrandom sites near cell poles in a manner coordinated with cell growth and division. Phylogenetic and phenotypic comparisons established that ICM localization and ICM architecture are not strictly interdependent and that neither trait fully correlates with the evolutionary relatedness of the species. The natural diversity of ICM localization revealed herein has implications for both the evolution of phototrophic organisms and their light-harvesting compartments and the mechanisms underpinning spatial organization of bacterial compartments.

Publication Date:
Jul 03 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-07-24

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