Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 159, Issue 6, pp 521–525 | Cite as

Effect of copper on membrane lipids and on methane monooxygenase activity of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath)

  • Petri Peltola
  • Petri Priha
  • Simo Laakso
Original Papers


The effect of copper supplementation on growth, methane monooxygenase activity and lipid composition of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) was studied. Copper increased biomass yield, methane monooxygenase activity and phospholipid content from 7.7 to 10.2% of dry weight. Cells from copper-deficient and copper supplemented cultures contained the same major fatty acids but in the presence of copper only the contents of C16:0 and the three C16:1 isomers were increased while the contents of C14:0 and cyclic C17:0 remained unchanged. Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin were analysed amongst the polar lipids. PE was the main component (about 60 mol-%) but the most notable copper-induced increment occurred in the proportion of PC, from about 10 to 16 mol-%. Concomitantly with this increment the fatty acids of PC were changed so that the mol-% of C16: 1 isomers were increased at the expense of other acids. Similar trends were seen also in the fatty acid compositions of other polar lipid fractions. It is therefore concluded that phosphatidylcholine would be one of the key factors when the role of membranous lipids in methane monooxygenase activity is to be considered.

Key words

Methylococcus capsulatus methane monooxygenase Membrane lipids effect of copper 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anthony C (1987) The biochemistry of methane and methanol utilization. In: Stowell JD, Beardsmore AJ, Keevil CW, Woodward JR (eds) Carbon substrates in biotechnology, vol 21. IRL Press, Oxford, pp 93–118Google Scholar
  2. Burrows KJ, Cornish A, Scott D, Higgins IJ (1984) Substrate specificities of the soluble and particulate methane mono-oxygenase of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. J Gen Microbiol 130: 3327–3333Google Scholar
  3. Colby J, Stirling DI, Dalton H (1977) The soluble methane mono-oxygenase of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath), its ability to oxygenate n-alkanes, n-alkenes ethers and alicyclic, aromatic and heterocyclic compounds. Biochem J 65: 395–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Collins LP, Buchholz LA, Remsen CC (1991) Effect of copper on Methylomonas albus BG8. Appl Environ Microbiol 57: 1261–1264PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Cornish A, Mac Donald J, Burrows KJ, King TS, Scott D, Higgins IJ (1985) Succinate as an in vitro electron donor for the particulate methane mono-oxygenase of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. Biotechnol Lett 7: 319–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Folch J, Lees M, Sloane Stanley GH (1957) A simple method for the isolation and purification of total lipides from animal tissues. J Biol Chem 226: 497–509Google Scholar
  7. Fulco AJ (1983) Fatty acid metabolism in bacteria. Prog Lipid Res 22: 133–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Guckert JB, Ringelberg DB, White DC, Hanson RS, Bratina BJ (1991) Membrane fatty acids as phenotypic markers in the polyphasic taxonomy of methylotrophs within the Proteobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 137: 2631–2641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hagen P-O, Goldfine H, Williams PJL (1966) Phospholipids of bacteria with extensive intracytoplasmic membranes. Science 151: 1543–1544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hyder SL, Meyers A, Cayer ML (1979) Membrane modulation in a methylotrophic bacterium Methylococcus capsulatus (Texas) as a function of growth substrate. Tissue Cell 11: 597–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jahnke LL, Nichols PD (1986) Methyl sterol and cyclopropane fatty acid composition of Methylococcus capsulatus grown at low oxygen tensions. J Bacteriol 167: 238–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Leak DJ, Dalton H (1986a) Growth yield of methanotrophs. 1. Effect of copper on the energetics of methane oxidation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 23: 470–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Leak DJ, Dalton H (1986b) Growth yield of methanotrophs. 2. A theoretical analysis. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 23: 477–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Leak DJ, Stanley SH, Dalton H (1985) Implications of the nature of methane monooxygenase on carbon assimilation in methanotrophs. In: Poole RK, Dow CS (eds) Microbial gas metabolism, mechanistic, metabolic and biotechnological aspects. Academic Press, London, pp 201–208Google Scholar
  15. Makula RA (1978) Phospholipid composition of methane-utilizing bacteria. J Bacteriol 134: 771–777PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Patt TE, Hanson RS (1978) Intracytoplasmic membrane, phospholipid, and sterol content of Methylobacterium organophilum cells grown under different conditions. J Bacteriol 134: 636–644PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Prior SD, Dalton H (1985) The effect of copper ions on membrane content and methane monooxygenase activity in methanol-grown cells of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath). J Gen Microbiol 131: 155–163Google Scholar
  18. Scott D, Brannan J, Higgins IJ (1981) The effect of growth conditions on intracytoplasmic membranes and methane mono-oxygenase activities in Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b. J Gen Microbiol 125: 63–72Google Scholar
  19. Smith DDS, Dalton H (1989) Solubilisation of methane monooxygenase from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath). Eur J Biochem 182: 667–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Smith U, Ribbons DW, Smith DS (1970) The fine structure of Methylococcus capsulatus. Tissue Cell 2: 513–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stanley SH, Prior SD, Leak DJ, Dalton H (1983) Copper stress underlies the fundamental change in intracellular location of methane mono-oxygenase in methane-oxidizing organisms: studies in batch and continuous cultures. Biotechnol Lett 5: 487–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Suutari M, Liukkonen K, Laakso S (1990) Temperature adaptation in yeasts: the role of fatty acids. J Gen Microbiol 136: 1469–1474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Takeda K, Tanaka K (1980) Ultrastructure of intracytoplasmic membranes of Methanomonas margaritae cells grown under different conditions. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 46: 15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Takeda K, Tezuka C, Fukuoka S, Takahara Y (1976) Role of copper ions in methane oxidation by Methanomonas margaritae. J Ferment Technol 54: 557–562Google Scholar
  25. Whittenbury R, Phillips KC, Wilkinson JF (1970) Enrichment, isolation and some properties of methane-utilizing bacteria. J Gen Microbiol 61: 205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petri Peltola
    • 1
  • Petri Priha
    • 1
  • Simo Laakso
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Process Engineering and Materials Science, Department of Chemical Engineering, Laboratory of Biochemistry and MicrobiologyHelsinki University of TechnologyEspooFinland

Personalised recommendations