Composition of the lipids of Nanoarchaeum equitans and their origin from its host Ignicoccus sp. strain KIN4/I

Ulrike Jahn, Roger Summons, Helen Sturt, Emmanuelle Grosjean, Harald Huber*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The contents and nature of the membrane lipids of Nanoarchaeum equitans and Ignicoccus sp. strain KIN4/I, grown at 90°C, and Ignicoccus sp. strain KIN4/I, cultivated at its lowest and highest growth temperatures (75°C and 95°C) were analyzed. Both organisms contained very simple and qualitatively identical assemblages of glycerol ether lipids, showing only differences in the amounts of certain components. LC-MS analyses of the total lipid extracts revealed that archaeol and caldarchaeol were the main core lipids. The predominant polar headgroups consisted of one or more sugar residues attached either directly to the core lipid or via a phosphate group. GC-MS analyses of hydrolyzed total lipid extracts revealed that the co-culture of N. equitans and Ignicoccus sp. strain KIN4/I, as well as Ignicoccus sp. strain KIN4/I grown at 90°C, contained phytane and biphytane in a ratio of approximately 4:1. Purified N. equitans cells and Ignicoccus sp. strain KIN4/ I cultivated at 75°C and 95°C had a phytane to biphytane ratio of 10:1. Sugar residues were mainly mannose and small amounts of glucose. Consistent 13C fractionation patterns of isoprenoid chains of N. equitans and its host indicated that the N. equitans lipids were synthesized in the host cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-413
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004



  • Archaeol
  • Ignicoccus
  • Intact polar lipids
  • Lipid analysis
  • Nanoarchaeum equitans

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