Publication Details

This article was originally published as Tehei, M, Franzetti, B, Wood, K, Gabel, F, Fabiani, E, Jasnin, M, Zamponi, M, Oesterhelt, D, Zaccai, G, Ginzburg, M, Ginzburg B, Neutron scattering reveals extremely slow cell water in a Dead Sea organism, PNAS 104(3), 2007, 766-771. Original article is available here.


Intracellular water dynamics in Haloarcula marismortui, an extremely halophilic organism originally isolated from the Dead Sea, was studied by neutron scattering. The water in centrifuged cell pellets was examined by means of two spectrometers, IN6 and IN16, sensitive to motions with time scales of 10 ps and 1 ns, respectively. From IN6 data, a translational diffusion constant of 1.3 10-5 cm2s-1 determined at 285 K. This value is close to that found previously for other cells and close to that for bulk water, as well as that of the water in the 3.5 M NaCl solution bathing the cells. A very slow water component was discovered from the IN16 data. At 285 K the waterprotons of this component displays a residence time of 411 ps (compared with a few ps in bulk water). At 300 K, the residence time dropped to 243 ps and was associated with a translational diffusion of 9.3110-8 cm2s-& or 250 times lower than that of bulk water. This slow water accounts for 76% of cell water in H. marismortui. No such water was found in Escherichia coli measured on BSS, a neutron spectrometer with properties similar to those of IN16. It is hypothesized that the slow mobility of a large part of H. marismortui cell water indicates a specific water structure responsible for the large amounts of K bound within these extremophile cells.



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