Synthesis of bacteriochlorophyll and carotenoids was inhibited in an aerobic photosynthetic bacterium, Erythrobacter sp. strain OCh114, by alpha, alpha'-dipyridyl and diphenylamine. Formation of two pigment-protein complexes, reaction center-B870 (RC-B870) and B806, and development of the intracytoplasmic membranes of the cells were studied by spectral analysis and electron microscopy. Inhibition of bacteriochlorophyll synthesis by alpha, alpha'-dipyridyl, which was accompanied by a decrease in carotenoid synthesis, suppressed formation of intracytoplasmic membranes in the cells. Growth under illumination had a similar effect on formation of pigments and membranes. On the other hand, inhibition of carotenoid synthesis by diphenylamine did not suppress either development of the membrane system or bacteriochlorophyll synthesis. Formation of RC-B870 and B806 complexes, however, was differentially affected by blockage of carotenoid synthesis. In the presence of diphenylamine, the B806 complex was formed in a much smaller amount than the RC-B870 complex. These results suggest that, in Erythrobacter sp. strain OCh114, bacteriochlorophyll plays an essential role in intracytoplasmic membrane development, and carotenoids are important for assembly of pigment-protein complexes.
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