Analysis of Polyhydroxyalkanoates Granules in Haloferax mediterranei by Double-Fluorescence Staining with Nile Red and SYBR Green by Confocal Fluorescence Microscopy

Polymers (Basel). 2021 May 14;13(10):1582. doi: 10.3390/polym13101582.


Haloferaxmediterranei is a haloarchaeon of high interest in biotechnology because it produces and mobilizes intracellular polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) granules during growth under stress conditions (limitation of phosphorous in the culture media), among other interesting metabolites (enzymes, carotenoids, etc.). The capability of PHA production by microbes can be monitored with the use of staining-based methods. However, the staining of haloarchaea cells is a challenging task; firstly, due to the high ionic strength of the medium, which is inappropriate for most of dyes, and secondly, due to the low permeability of the haloarchaea S-layer to macromolecules. In this work, Haloferax mediterranei is used as a halophilic archaeon model to describe an optimized protocol for the visualization and analysis of intracellular PHA granules in living cells. The method is based on double-fluorescence staining using Nile red and SYBR Green by confocal fluorescence microscopy. Thanks to this method, the capability of PHA production by new haloarchaea isolates could be easily monitored.

Keywords: Haloferax mediterranei; Nile red; SYBR Green; confocal microscopy; haloarchaea; polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs); transmission electronic microscopy.