Several haloarchaea are reported to be pleomorphic, while others exhibit remarkable shapes, such as squares. Recently, Haloferax volcanii was found to alter its morphology during growth. Cells are motile rods in early exponential phase, and immotile plates in stationary phase. It is unknown if this growth phase dependent cell shape alteration is a specific feature of Hfx. volcanii, or conserved amongst haloarchaea. Here, we studied the cell shape and motility of two haloarchaea species Haloarcula hispanica and Haloarcula californiae. With a combination of light and electron microscopy, we observed that both strains undergo a growth phase dependent morphological development, albeit in a slightly different fashion as Hfx. volcanii. For both Haloarcula strains, the cell size is changing throughout growth. Cell shape seems to be related with motility, as highly motile cells on semi-solid agar plates are predominantly rod-shaped. We conclude that the growth phase dependent cell morphology alteration might be a common feature amongst haloarchaea, and that cell shape is generally linked with a motile life style. The conservation of this phenomenon underscores the importance of studies of the molecular mechanisms regulating cell shape in archaea.
- 1182 Biokemi, cell- och molekylärbiologi