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Life in deadly conditions

to the depletion of ammonium. Because ammonium nitrate is a key building block of amino acids, the tiny organism should have problems synthesising it. Michaela Falb discovered in the genome a number of ways that Natronomonas pharaonis can take optimal advantage of the low incidence of nitrogen: through the uptake and metabolism of nitrate and urea, as well as the efficient uptake of ammonia.

The co-operation of theoretically and experimentally-oriented researchers shed light on other questions. The bioinformatics experts were able to predict that Natronomonas pharaonis can by itself produce vitamins and amino acids. Thus, the growth medium for the culture of the single-celled organism could be significantly simplified.

Dieter Oesterhelt explains that "the comparison with other halophile archaea we have studied shows that these organisms have a high plasticity with which they can adapt to the varying, extreme environmental conditions. The frugality of Natronomonas pharaonis, with the possibility of simplifying the nutrient solution, opens new possibilities for experimentally investigating the metabolic network. The data we thus acquire make up an important foundation for developing and testing metabolic models in the framework of systemic biological studies and in interdisciplinary co-operation with mathematicians."


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Source:Max-Planck-Gesellschaft


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