Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic Adaptations Key to Microbe's Survival in Challenging Environment

12.02.2009
Genetic adaptations made by bacterium living in one of the world's most extreme environments could help us understand how life evolved.

The genome of a marine bacterium living 2,500 meters below the ocean's surface is providing clues to how life adapts in extreme thermal and chemical gradients, according to an article published Feb. 6 in the journal PLoS Genetics, an open-access publication published by the Public Library of Science.

The research focused on the bacterium Nautilia profundicola, a microbe that survives near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Microorganisms that thrive at these geysers on the sea floor must adapt to fluctuations in temperature and oxygen levels, ranging from the hot, sulfide- and heavy metal-laden plume at the vents' outlets to cold seawater in the surrounding region.

The study combined genome analysis with physiological and ecological observations to investigate the importance of one gene in N. profundicola. That gene, called rgy, allows the bacterium to manufacture a protein called reverse gyrase when it encounters extremely hot fluids from the Earth's interior.

Previous studies found the gene only in microorganisms growing in temperatures greater than 80°C, but N. profundicola thrives best at much lower temperatures.

"The gene's presence in N. profundicola suggests that it might play a role in the bacterium's ability to survive rapid and frequent temperature fluctuations in its environment," said Assistant Professor of Marine Biosciences Barbara Campbell, the study's lead scientist.

Additional University of Delaware contributors were Professor of Marine Biosciences Stephen Craig Cary, Assistant Professor of Marine Biosciences Thomas Hanson, and Julie Smith, marine biosciences doctoral student. Also collaborating on the project were researchers from the Davis and Riverside campuses of the University of California; the University of Louisville; the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand; and the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md.

The researchers also uncovered further adaptations to the vent environment, including genes necessary for growth and sensing environmental conditions, and a new route for nitrate assimilation related to how other bacteria use ammonia as an energy source. Photosynthesis cannot occur in the hydrothermal vents' dark environment, where hot, toxic fluids oozing from below the seafloor combine with cold seawater at very high pressures.

These results help to explain how microbes survive near the vents, where conditions are thought to resemble those found on early Earth. Nautilia profundicola contains all the genes necessary for life in conditions widely believed to mimic those in our planet's early biosphere and could aid in understanding of how life evolved.

"It will be an important model system," Campbell said, "for understanding early microbial life on Earth."

Elizabeth Boyle | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.udel.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>