The fine structure of Rhodospirillum rubrum grown under a series of defined conditions has been examined in thin sections prepared by the methods of Ryter and Kellenberger. In cells grown anaerobically at different light intensities, the abundance of 500 A membrane-bounded vesicles in the cytoplasm is inversely related to light intensity, and directly related to cellular chlorophyll content. When the chlorophyll content of the cell is low, the vesicles are exclusively peripheral in location; they extend more deeply into the cytoplasm when the chlorophyll content is high. Typical vesicles also occur, though rarely, in cells grown aerobically in the dark, which have a negligible chlorophyll content. When synthesis of the photosynthetic pigment system is induced in a population of aerobically grown cells by incubation under semianaerobic conditions in the dark, the vesicles become increasingly abundant with increasing cellular chlorophyll content, and the cells eventually acquire the cytoplasmic structure that is characteristic of cells growing anaerobically at a high light intensity. Poststaining with lead hydroxide reveals that the membranes surrounding the 500 A vesicles are indistinguishable in structure from the cytoplasmic membrane, and continuous with it in some areas of the sections. The bearing of these observations on current notions concerning the organization of the bacterial photosynthetic apparatus is discussed.

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