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Summary

Shewanella violacea DSS12, a deep-sea bacterium, produces eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) as a component of membrane phospholipids. Although various isolates from the deep sea, such as Photobacterium profundum SS9, Colwellia psychrerythraea 34H and various Shewanella strains, produce EPA- or docosahexaenoic acid-containing phospholipids, the physiological role of these polyunsaturated fatty acids remains unclear. In this article, we illustrate the physiological importance of EPA for high-pressure adaptation in strain DSS12 with the help of an EPA-deficient mutant (DSS12pfaA). DSS12pfaA showed significant growth retardation at 30 MPa, but not at 0.1 MPa. We also found that DSS12pfaA grown at 30 MPa forms filamentous cells. When an EPA-containing phospholipid (sn-1-oleoly-sn-2-eicosapentaenoyl phosphatidylethanolamine) was supplemented, the growth retardation and the morphological defect of DSS12pfaA were suppressed, indicating that the externally added EPA-containing phospholipid compensated for the loss of endogenous EPA. In contrast, the addition of an oleic acid-containing phospholipid (sn-1,2-dioleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine) did not affect the growth and the morphology of the cells. Immunofluorescent microscopic analysis with anti-FtsZ antibody revealed a number of Z-rings and separated nucleoids in DSS12pfaA grown at 30 MPa. These results demonstrate the physiological importance of EPA for the later step of Z-ring formation of S. violacea DSS12 under high-pressure conditions.