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Monday, 29 August 2016

Genome of an Arctic bacteria reveal about their survival strategy

Scientists from University of Bristol revealed an Arctic microbe that can able to survive extremes of cold temperature. Researchers at Bristol Glaciology Centre sequenced the genome of the bacterium called Phormidesmis priestleyi which is a cyanobacteria a kind of photosynthetic microorganism.

The research was published recently in the journal BMC Genomics.

This new study can explain how these tiny creatures capable to survive extreme temperatures. Places like arctic, Antarctic and at high altitudes plants can not able to survive but this cyanobacteria living in such an extreme place and preparing their own food with the simple sources of sunlight, sugars, carbon dioxide and water.

In Greenland, this Phormidesmis priestleyi form cryoconite holes on ice sheets. This kind of holes can be seen on vast areas covered with ice. The bacterium serves to be an important environmental engineer for ecosystem over glaciers and ice caps.

Leading author of the paper, Nathan Chrismas who is a PhD student at Bristol Glaciology Centre said to Phys dot org, "Many cold adapted organisms, or psychrophiles, have distinct signatures in their genomes related to how they are adapted to survival in the cold. By isolating and sequencing its genome of Phormidesmis priestleyi, we could look for distinctive signatures at the genome level. We found its genome is similar to related organisms from much warmer environments. This new genome suggests that Phormidesmis priestleyi mainly survives in cold environments by producing a special protective coating made from sugars."

Dr Patricia Sánchez-Baracaldo from School of Geographical Sciences working as Royal Society Research Fellow said, "I am delighted that my lab was able to sequence the first genome of a key cyanobacterium in the Arctic. Our work shows that by wrapping itself in a protective layer made out of a complex arrangement of sugars, this microbe uses this sticky layer to protect its cells from freezing, allowing it to survive through the Arctic winter.

Interestingly, other cyanobacteria species use similar strategies in order to survive in other extreme habitats. Such strategies have allowed cyanobacteria to colonise some of the most inhospitable places on our planet."

Source: Phys dot org


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