Open Access

The physiological and morphological phenotype of a yeast mutant resistant to the quaternary ammonium salt N-(dodecyloxycarboxymethyl)-N,N,N-trimethyl ammonium chloride

  • Ewa Obłąk1Email author,
  • Andrzej Gamian2, 3,
  • Ryszard Adamski1 and
  • Stanisław Ułaszewski1
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201015:2

DOI: 10.2478/s11658-010-0002-8

Received: 10 July 2009

Accepted: 21 January 2010

Published: 29 January 2010

Abstract

We investigated the action of the quaternary ammonium salt (QAS) called IM (N-(dodecyloxycarboxymethyl)-N,N,N-trimethyl ammonium chloride) on Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells. Changes in the yeast cell ultrastructure were confirmed by electron microscopy. We treated resistant mutant cells with QAS, and confirmed destruction of the mutant cytoplasm, an increase in the thickness of the cell wall, separation of the cell wall from the cytoplasm, and the accumulation of numerous lipid droplets. We also observed a relatively high production of lipids in the cells of the parental wild-type strain Σ1278b and in its IM-resistant (IMR) mutant in the presence of the QAS. The IMR mutant showed increased sensitivity to CaCl2 and SDS, and resistance to ethidium bromide, chloramphenicol, erythromycin and osmotic shock. It also tolerated growth at low pH. We suggest that the resistance to IM could be connected with the level of permeability of the cell membrane because the IMR mutant was sensitive to this compound in vivo in the presence of SDS and guanidine hydrochloride, which cause increased permeability of the cell plasma membrane.

Key words

Quaternary ammonium salts Drug resistance Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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