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|Subzero Bacteria's Genome Sequenced|
Colwellia psychrerythraea 34H normally lives between -1C and
10C, but can live colder. In fact, the bacteria cannot live at normal
temperatures. The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and
collaborators have sequenced C. psychrerythraea's genome to try
to figure out why. They found that some of the 4,937 genes code for
polyunsaturated fatty acids in the cell membrane that resist freezing,
polyester compounds that offer extra energy reserves, protective
solutes inside cells, and ordinary enzymes altered to function in
chilly seawater. The bacteria also takes mommy's advice; it dresses in
layers: the cell has polysaccharides coating its cell membrane. The
researchers compared its genome and proteome to other bacteria (living
at normal and high temperatures) to find the differences.
|C. psychrerythraea strain 34H. The black lines indicate the movement of the cells.|
Credit: "Motility of Colwellia psychrerythraea Strain 34H at Subzero Temperatures," Karen Junge, Hajo Eicken, and Jody W. Deming
Now that these genes are known, it would be possible to splice them
into other bacteria to help them live at frigid temperatures better.
One possible use would be helping bacteria survive better on Mars.
(More info: TIGR)
- posted by Jim @ 9:56 EST