Navigation Links
Delving into the molecular mechanism behind deep-sea bacteria's pressure tolerance

The Mariana Trench is the deepest feature of the Earth's surface. The water column there exerts a pressure of more than one thousand times normal atmospheric pressure at sea level, enough pressure to crush an SUV. Yet many organisms thrive in this seemingly inhospitable environment. A Japanese research team has been investigating how deep-sea bacteria adapt to such high-pressure conditions. They have identified a structural change that confers pressure-resistant properties on a particular protein found in bacteria. The findings, which the team will present at the meeting of the American Crystallographic Association (ACA), held July 28-Aug. 1, in Boston, Mass., may one day help guide the design of enzymes for use in high-pressure chemical industrial processes.

In general, pressure, like that caused by a water column thousands of feet deep, deforms proteins. As the proteins change shape, water can penetrate the protein's interior. Some proteins are better able to resist this incursion of water, but the molecular mechanisms of the pressure resistance aren't yet well understood.

"Our group is focusing on high-pressure protein crystallography, using 3-isopropylmalate dehydrogenase (IPMDH) as a model protein. The goal is to delve into the principles of the molecular mechanism of the pressure tolerance of proteins by comparing the structures of IPMDHs from organisms that thrive in high-pressure environments and those that are sensitive to high-pressure pressure environments," explains Nobuhisa Watanabe, a professor at the Synchrotron Radiation Research Center, Nagoya University.

To create the high pressures necessary for their studies, the team uses a diamond anvil cell (DAC), which consists of two opposing diamonds with a gasket compressed between the culets (the small, flat facet at the bottom of the diamonds).

The team's big discovery so far is that the initial water penetration at the molecular surface of the side opposite to the active site of IPMDH is unique.

"At the site of the penetration, there is a difference of amino acid between IPMDHs from bacteria that thrive in high-pressure environments and those that are sensitive to it. Based on this data, we substituted one amino acid at the site of the IPMDH from pressure-sensitive bacteria and checked its activity under pressure," says Watanabe. "And as we expected, only this one residue-substituted IPMDH, which has 364 amino acids in total, achieved pressure resistance comparable to the bacteria that thrive in high-pressure environments."

This means that it may soon be possible to synthesize designer pressure-resistant proteins. The team plans to continue their high-pressure studies of several other proteins to try to discover the physical principles behind pressure resistance mechanisms that enable bacteria to thrive in high-pressure conditions.

Contact: Catherine Meyers
American Institute of Physics

Related biology news :

1. Speed and power of X-ray laser helps unlock molecular mysteries
2. Highlighting molecular clues to the link between childhood maltreatment and later suicide
3. MARC travel award announced for the 2012 GSA Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Meeting
4. How bacteria change movement direction in response to oxygen: Molecular interactions unravelled
5. The activity of a bacterial effector protein seen in molecular detail
6. Hitting snooze on the molecular clock: Rabies evolves slower in hibernating bats
7. Molecular spectroscopy tracks living mammalian cells in real time as they differentiate
8. PNAS: Precise molecular surgery in the plant genome
9. 5th Annual Advances in Biomolecular Engineering Symposium
10. 2012 Forecast for US Molecular Diagnostics Market Now Available From Global Information Inc.
11. Beyond the microscope: Identifying specific cancers using molecular analysis
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Oct. 29, 2015   ... that supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is ... the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of ... in the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The ... and individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, ... for U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation ... and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the ... diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and other ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015 Today, LifeBEAM ... partnership with 2XU, a global leader in technical ... smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat ... to monitor key biometrics to improve overall training ... the two companies will bring together the most advanced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide ... Carolina , today announced that the company has set a ... a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 ... and Mexico , with the establishment of ... December 2015. --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together dozens ... BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the top ... of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and an ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton , Chief ... Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City , ... p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today that ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in New ... 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> Shire plc ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that its Annual General Meeting of ... Israel time, at the law offices of Goldfarb ... Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel . ... Tamir to the Board of Directors; , election of ... of an amendment to certain terms of options granted to our Chief ...
Breaking Biology Technology: