Scientists have found that bacteria change these complex and important structures to adapt to different temperatures by looking at the appearance of the bacteria as well as their genes. The researchers hope their study, published in the August issue of Microbiology, will start a new trend in research.
'Evolution Canyons' I and II are in Israel. They are similar, each with a hot south-facing slope and a cooler north-facing slope. The sun-exposed 'African' south-facing slopes get eight times more solar radiation than the shady, green, lush 'European' north-facing slopes. Scientists studied 131 strains of Bacillus simplex and found that bacteria on different slopes have evolved differently, forming different 'ecotypes' of the same species.
"We expected that 'ecotype' formation was linked to temperature but we had no initial clue of which specific cell attributes could have led to the adaptation," said Dr Johannes Sikorski from DSMZ in Germany. "To find out, we definitely had to study the appearance of the bacteria, not only their genes."
The cell membrane is one of the most important and complex parts of a cell. Membranes contain different fatty acid molecules; the branching type can change depending on temperature to keep the cell alive. The researchers found significant differences in the fatty acids of several ecotypes that live on different slopes in Evolution Canyon.
"Bacteria respond to temperature by altering their fatty acid composition in a constitutive, long-term fashion," said Dr Sikorski. We found that 'African' ecotypes from the hot slopes had more heat-tolerant fatty acids and 'European' ecotypes from the cool slopes had more cold-tolerant fatty acids in their membranes."
In most modern evolutionary studies, scientists rely on genetic data alone. Dr Sikorski and his colleagues focussed on the result of the genetic changes instead: what the bacteria look like. "It is not a 'sexy' technique like genomics or proteomics but it gives a more comprehensive insight into the result of adaptation of the cell membrane," said Dr Sikorski.
"Right now it is not possible to deduce the composition of a cell membrane using genomics or proteomics alone. To understand evolution we need to explain the consequences of genetic differences for the organism in its natural environment."
Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences