Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Genetic Adaptations Key to Microbe's Survival in Challenging Environment

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:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Signaling Pathways to the Nucleus
19.03.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one
19.03.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>