Influence of the fluidity of the membrane on the response of microorganisms to environmental stresses

Abstract : The aim of this mini-review is to relate membrane physical properties to the adaptation and resistance of microorganisms to environmental stresses. In the first part, the effects of various stresses on the structure and dynamic properties of phospholipid and biological membranes are presented. The compensation of these effects, i.e., change in membrane fluidity, phase transitions, by the active cellular control of the membrane chemical composition, is then described. In this natural process, the change in membrane fluidity is viewed as the detecting "input" signal that initiates the regulation, activating proteic effectors that in turn may influence the chemical composition of the membrane (feedback). This adaptation system allows the maintenance of the physical characteristics of membranes and, thereby, of their functionality. When environmental stresses are extreme and occur abruptly, the regulation process may not compensate for the changes in the membrane physical characteristics. In such cases, important variations in the membrane fluidity and structure may induce cellular damages and cell death. However, the lethal consequences are not systematically observed because protective effects of changes in the membrane physical state on the resistance to stresses are also reported.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 10:46:09 AM
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Laurent Beney, Patrick Gervais. Influence of the fluidity of the membrane on the response of microorganisms to environmental stresses. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Springer Verlag, 2001, 57 (1-2), pp.34-42. ⟨10.1007/s002530100754⟩. ⟨hal-02291708⟩

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