Homeoviscous adaptation--a homeostatic process that regulates the viscosity of membrane lipids in Escherichia coli

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1974 Feb;71(2):522-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.71.2.522.


E. coli incorporates increasing proportions of saturated and long-chain fatty acids into phospholipids as growth temperature is increased. It was found that this compositional variation results in the biosynthesis of phospholipids that have identical viscosities at the temperature of growth of the cells. This "homeoviscous adaptation" can also be observed in E. coli membrane preparations. Viscosities were determined by use of the electron spin resonance spin-label technique.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Phospholipids / biosynthesis*
  • Spin Labels
  • Temperature
  • Viscosity


  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids
  • Spin Labels