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1.  Archaea in Symbioses 
Archaea  2012;2012:596846.
During the last few years, the analysis of microbial diversity in various habitats greatly increased our knowledge on the kingdom Archaea. At the same time, we became aware of the multiple ways in which Archaea may interact with each other and with organisms of other kingdoms. The large group of euryarchaeal methanogens and their methane oxidizing relatives, in particular, take part in essential steps of the global methane cycle. Both of these processes, which are in reverse to each other, are partially conducted in a symbiotic interaction with different partners, either ciliates and xylophagous animals or sulfate reducing bacteria. Other symbiotic interactions are mostly of unknown ecological significance but depend on highly specific mechanisms. This paper will give an overview on interactions between Archaea and other organisms and will point out the ecological relevance of these symbiotic processes, as long as these have been already recognized.
PMCID: PMC3544247  PMID: 23326206
2.  tRNA-Derived Fragments Target the Ribosome and Function as Regulatory Non-Coding RNA in Haloferax volcanii 
Archaea  2012;2012:260909.
Nonprotein coding RNA (ncRNA) molecules have been recognized recently as major contributors to regulatory networks in controlling gene expression in a highly efficient manner. These RNAs either originate from their individual transcription units or are processing products from longer precursor RNAs. For example, tRNA-derived fragments (tRFs) have been identified in all domains of life and represent a growing, yet functionally poorly understood, class of ncRNA candidates. Here we present evidence that tRFs from the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii directly bind to ribosomes. In the presented genomic screen of the ribosome-associated RNome, a 26-residue-long fragment originating from the 5′ part of valine tRNA was by far the most abundant tRF. The Val-tRF is processed in a stress-dependent manner and was found to primarily target the small ribosomal subunit in vitro and in vivo. As a consequence of ribosome binding, Val-tRF reduces protein synthesis by interfering with peptidyl transferase activity. Therefore this tRF functions as ribosome-bound small ncRNA capable of regulating gene expression in H. volcanii under environmental stress conditions probably by fine tuning the rate of protein production.
PMCID: PMC3544259  PMID: 23326205
3.  Crystal Structure of a 9-Subunit Archaeal Exosome in Pre-Catalytic States of the Phosphorolytic Reaction 
Archaea  2012;2012:721869.
The RNA exosome is an important protein complex that functions in the 3′ processing and degradation of RNA in archaeal and eukaryotic organisms. The archaeal exosome is functionally similar to bacterial polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) and RNase PH enzymes as it uses inorganic phosphate (Pi) to processively cleave RNA substrates releasing nucleoside diphosphates. To shed light on the mechanism of catalysis, we have determined the crystal structures of mutant archaeal exosome in complex with either Pi or with both RNA and Pi at resolutions of 1.8 Å and 2.5 Å, respectively. These structures represent views of precatalytic states of the enzyme and allow the accurate determination of the substrate binding geometries. In the structure with both Pi and RNA bound, the Pi closely approaches the phosphate of the 3′-end nucleotide of the RNA and is in a perfect position to perform a nucleophilic attack. The presence of negative charge resulting from the close contacts between the phosphates appears to be neutralized by conserved positively charged residues in the active site of the archaeal exosome. The high degree of structural conservation between the archaeal exosome and the PNPase including the requirement for divalent metal ions for catalysis is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3539426  PMID: 23319881
4.  Lipid Biology of Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:710836.
PMCID: PMC3533482  PMID: 23304073
5.  Phylogenomic Investigation of Phospholipid Synthesis in Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:630910.
Archaea have idiosyncratic cell membranes usually based on phospholipids containing glycerol-1-phosphate linked by ether bonds to isoprenoid lateral chains. Since these phospholipids strongly differ from those of bacteria and eukaryotes, the origin of the archaeal membranes (and by extension, of all cellular membranes) was enigmatic and called for accurate evolutionary studies. In this paper we review some recent phylogenomic studies that have revealed a modified mevalonate pathway for the synthesis of isoprenoid precursors in archaea and suggested that this domain uses an atypical pathway of synthesis of fatty acids devoid of any acyl carrier protein, which is essential for this activity in bacteria and eukaryotes. In addition, we show new or updated phylogenetic analyses of enzymes likely responsible for the isoprenoid chain synthesis from their precursors and the phospholipid synthesis from glycerol phosphate, isoprenoids, and polar head groups. These results support that most of these enzymes can be traced back to the last archaeal common ancestor and, in many cases, even to the last common ancestor of all living organisms.
PMCID: PMC3533463  PMID: 23304072
6.  A First Analysis of Metallome Biosignatures of Hyperthermophilic Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:789278.
To date, no experimental data has been reported for the metallome of hyperthermophilic microorganisms although their metal requirements for growth are known to be unique. Here, experiments were conducted to determine (i) cellular trace metal concentrations of the hyperthermophilic Archaea Methanococcus jannaschii and Pyrococcus furiosus, and (ii) a first estimate of the metallome for these hyperthermophilic species via ICP-MS. The metal contents of these cells were compared to parallel experiments using the mesophilic bacterium Escherichia coli grown under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Fe and Zn were typically the most abundant metals in cells. Metal concentrations for E. coli grown aerobically decreased in the order Fe > Zn > Cu > Mo > Ni > W > Co. In contrast, M. jannaschii and P. furiosus show almost the reverse pattern with elevated Ni, Co, and W concentrations. Of the three organisms, a biosignature is potentially demonstrated for the methanogen M. jannaschii that may, in part, be related to the metallome requirements of methanogenesis. The bioavailability of trace metals more than likely has varied through time. If hyperthermophiles are very ancient, then the trace metal patterns observed here may begin to provide some insights regarding Earth's earliest cells and in turn, early Earth chemistry.
PMCID: PMC3518089  PMID: 23243390
7.  Low Rates of Lateral Gene Transfer among Metabolic Genes Define the Evolving Biogeochemical Niches of Archaea through Deep Time 
Archaea  2012;2012:843539.
Phylogenomic analyses of archaeal genome sequences are providing windows into the group's evolutionary past, even though most archaeal taxa lack a conventional fossil record. Here, phylogenetic analyses were performed using key metabolic genes that define the metabolic niche of microorganisms. Such genes are generally considered to have undergone high rates of lateral gene transfer. Many gene sequences formed clades that were identical, or similar, to the tree constructed using large numbers of genes from the stable core of the genome. Surprisingly, such lateral transfer events were readily identified and quantifiable, occurring only a relatively small number of times in the archaeal domain of life. By placing gene acquisition events into a temporal framework, the rates by which new metabolic genes were acquired can be quantified. The highest lateral transfer rates were among cytochrome oxidase genes that use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor (with a total of 12–14 lateral transfer events, or 3.4–4.0 events per billion years, across the entire archaeal domain). Genes involved in sulfur or nitrogen metabolism had much lower rates, on the order of one lateral transfer event per billion years. This suggests that lateral transfer rates of key metabolic proteins are rare and not rampant.
PMCID: PMC3512248  PMID: 23226971
8.  Archaeol: An Indicator of Methanogenesis in Water-Saturated Soils 
Archaea  2012;2012:896727.
Oxic soils typically are a sink for methane due to the presence of high-affinity methanotrophic Bacteria capable of oxidising methane. However, soils experiencing water saturation are able to host significant methanogenic archaeal communities, potentially affecting the capacity of the soil to act as a methane sink. In order to provide insight into methanogenic populations in such soils, the distribution of archaeol in free and conjugated forms was investigated as an indicator of fossilised and living methanogenic biomass using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with selected ion monitoring. Of three soils studied, only one organic matter-rich site contained archaeol in quantifiable amounts. Assessment of the subsurface profile revealed a dominance of archaeol bound by glycosidic headgroups over phospholipids implying derivation from fossilised biomass. Moisture content, through control of organic carbon and anoxia, seemed to govern trends in methanogen biomass. Archaeol and crenarchaeol profiles differed, implying the former was not of thaumarcheotal origin. Based on these results, we propose the use of intact archaeol as a useful biomarker for methanogen biomass in soil and to track changes in moisture status and aeration related to climate change.
PMCID: PMC3512251  PMID: 23226972
9.  Rings in the Extreme: PCNA Interactions and Adaptations in the Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:951010.
Biochemical and structural analysis of archaeal proteins has enabled us to gain great insight into many eukaryotic processes, simultaneously offering fascinating glimpses into the adaptation and evolution of proteins at the extremes of life. The archaeal PCNAs, central to DNA replication and repair, are no exception. Characterisation of the proteins alone, and in complex with both peptides and protein binding partners, has demonstrated the diversity and subtlety in the regulatory role of these sliding clamps. Equally, studies have provided valuable detailed insight into the adaptation of protein interactions and mechanisms that are necessary for life in extreme environments.
PMCID: PMC3504372  PMID: 23209375
10.  Role of Mn2+ and Compatible Solutes in the Radiation Resistance of Thermophilic Bacteria and Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:845756.
Radiation-resistant bacteria have garnered a great deal of attention from scientists seeking to expose the mechanisms underlying their incredible survival abilities. Recent analyses showed that the resistance to ionizing radiation (IR) in the archaeon Halobacterium salinarum is dependent upon Mn-antioxidant complexes responsible for the scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by radiation. Here we examined the role of the compatible solutes trehalose, mannosylglycerate, and di-myo-inositol phosphate in the radiation resistance of aerobic and anaerobic thermophiles. We found that the IR resistance of the thermophilic bacteria Rubrobacter xylanophilus and Rubrobacter radiotolerans was highly correlated to the accumulation of high intracellular concentration of trehalose in association with Mn, supporting the model of Mn2+-dependent ROS scavenging in the aerobes. In contrast, the hyperthermophilic archaea Thermococcus gammatolerans and Pyrococcus furiosus did not contain significant amounts of intracellular Mn, and we found no significant antioxidant activity from mannosylglycerate and di-myo-inositol phosphate in vitro. We therefore propose that the low levels of IR-generated ROS under anaerobic conditions combined with highly constitutively expressed detoxification systems in these anaerobes are key to their radiation resistance and circumvent the need for the accumulation of Mn-antioxidant complexes in the cell.
PMCID: PMC3505630  PMID: 23209374
11.  RNA-Based Assessment of Diversity and Composition of Active Archaeal Communities in the German Bight 
Archaea  2012;2012:695826.
Archaea play an important role in various biogeochemical cycles. They are known extremophiles inhabiting environments such as thermal springs or hydrothermal vents. Recent studies have revealed a significant abundance of Archaea in moderate environments, for example, temperate sea water. Nevertheless, the composition and ecosystem function of these marine archaeal communities is largely unknown. To assess diversity and composition of active archaeal communities in the German Bight, seven marine water samples were taken and studied by RNA-based analysis of ribosomal 16S rRNA. For this purpose, total RNA was extracted from the samples and converted to cDNA. Archaeal community structures were investigated by pyrosequencing-based analysis of 16S rRNA amplicons generated from cDNA. To our knowledge, this is the first study combining next-generation sequencing and metatranscriptomics to study archaeal communities in marine habitats. The pyrosequencing-derived dataset comprised 62,045 archaeal 16S rRNA sequences. We identified Halobacteria as the predominant archaeal group across all samples with increased abundance in algal blooms. Thermoplasmatales (Euryarchaeota) and the Marine Group I (Thaumarchaeota) were identified in minor abundances. It is indicated that archaeal community patterns were influenced by environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3502831  PMID: 23197941
12.  Coupled TLC and MALDI-TOF/MS Analyses of the Lipid Extract of the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus 
Archaea  2012;2012:957852.
The lipidome of the marine hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus was studied by means of combined thin-layer chromatography and MALDI-TOF/MS analyses of the total lipid extract. 80–90% of the major polar lipids were represented by archaeol lipids (diethers) and the remaining part by caldarchaeol lipids (tetraethers). The direct analysis of lipids on chromatography plate showed the presence of the diphytanylglycerol analogues of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylglycerol, the N-acetylglucosamine-diphytanylglycerol phosphate plus some caldarchaeol lipids different from those previously described. In addition, evidence for the presence of the dimeric ether lipid cardiolipin is reported, suggesting that cardiolipins are ubiquitous in archaea.
PMCID: PMC3502756  PMID: 23193375
13.  Impact of Trichloroethylene Exposure on the Microbial Diversity and Protein Expression in Anaerobic Granular Biomass at 37°C and 15°C 
Archaea  2012;2012:940159.
Granular biomass from a laboratory-scale anaerobic bioreactor trial was analysed to identify changes in microbial community structure and function in response to temperature and trichloroethylene (TCE). Two bioreactors were operated at 37°C, while two were operated at 15°C. At the time of sampling, one of each temperature pair of bioreactors was exposed to process failure-inducing concentrations of TCE (60 mg L−1) while the other served as a TCE-free control. Bacterial community structure was investigated using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis. Temperature was identified as an important factor for bacterial community composition, while minor differences were associated with trichloroethylene supplementation. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in all bioreactors, while clone library analysis revealed a higher proportion of Bacteroidetes-, Chloroflexi-, and Firmicutes-like clones at 15°C than at 37°C. Comparative metaproteomics in the presence and absence of TCE was carried out by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DGE), and 28 protein spots were identified, with putative functions related to cellular processes, including methanogenesis, glycolysis, the glyoxylate cycle, and the methyl malonyl pathway. A good agreement between metaproteomic species assignment and phylogenetic information was observed, with 10 of the identified proteins associated with members of the phylum Proteobacteria.
PMCID: PMC3502766  PMID: 23197942
14.  New Strategy for a Suitable Fast Stabilization of the Biomethanization Performance 
Archaea  2012;2012:418727.
The start-up strategies for thermophilic anaerobic reactors usually consist of an initial mesophilic stage (35°C), with an approximate duration of 185 days, and a subsequent thermophilic stage (55°C), which normally requires around 60 days to achieve the system stabilizatio. During the first 8–10 days of the mesophilic stage, the reactor is not fed so that the inoculum, which is generally a mesophilic anaerobic sludge, may be adapted to the organic solid waste. Between mesophilic and thermophilic conditions the reactor is still not fed in an effort to prevent possible imbalances in the proces. As a consequence, the start-up and stabilization of the biomethanization performance described in the literature require, at least, around 245 days. In this sense, a new strategy for the start-up and stabilization phases is presented in this study. This approach allows an important reduction in the overall time necessary for these stages in an anaerobic continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) operated at thermophilic-dry conditions for treating the organic fraction of the municipal solid waste (OFMSW): 60 days versus 245 days of conventional strategies. The new strategy uses modified SEBAC technology to adapt an inoculum to the OFMSW and the operational conditions prior to seeding the CSTR.
PMCID: PMC3501813  PMID: 23193374
16.  Synthetic Archaeosome Vaccines Containing Triglycosylarchaeols Can Provide Additive and Long-Lasting Immune Responses That Are Enhanced by Archaetidylserine 
Archaea  2012;2012:513231.
The relation between archaeal lipid structures and their activity as adjuvants may be defined and explored by synthesizing novel head groups covalently linked to archaeol (2,3-diphytanyl-sn-glycerol). Saturated archaeol, that is suitably stable as a precursor for chemical synthesis, was obtained in high yield from Halobacterium salinarum. Archaeosomes consisting of the various combinations of synthesized lipids, with antigen entrapped, were used to immunize mice and subsequently determine CD8+ and CD4+-T cell immune responses. Addition of 45 mol% of the glycolipids gentiotriosylarchaeol, mannotriosylarchaeol or maltotriosylarchaeol to an archaetidylglycerophosphate-O-methyl archaeosome, significantly enhanced the CD8+ T cell response to antigen, but diminished the antibody titres in peripheral blood. Archaeosomes consisting of all three triglycosyl archaeols combined with archaetidylglycerophosphate-O-methyl (15/15/15/55 mol%) resulted in approximately additive CD8+ T cell responses and also an antibody response not significantly different from the archaetidylglycerophosphate-O-methyl alone. Synthetic archaetidylserine played a role to further enhance the CD8+ T cell response where the optimum content was 20–30 mol%. Vaccines giving best protection against solid tumor growth corresponded to the archaeosome adjuvant composition that gave highest immune activity in immunized mice.
PMCID: PMC3465877  PMID: 23055819
17.  Lipids of Archaeal Viruses 
Archaea  2012;2012:384919.
Archaeal viruses represent one of the least known territory of the viral universe and even less is known about their lipids. Based on the current knowledge, however, it seems that, as in other viruses, archaeal viral lipids are mostly incorporated into membranes that reside either as outer envelopes or membranes inside an icosahedral capsid. Mechanisms for the membrane acquisition seem to be similar to those of viruses infecting other host organisms. There are indications that also some proteins of archaeal viruses are lipid modified. Further studies on the characterization of lipids in archaeal viruses as well as on their role in virion assembly and infectivity require not only highly purified viral material but also, for example, constant evaluation of the adaptability of emerging technologies for their analysis. Biological membranes contain proteins and membranes of archaeal viruses are not an exception. Archaeal viruses as relatively simple systems can be used as excellent tools for studying the lipid protein interactions in archaeal membranes.
PMCID: PMC3461281  PMID: 23049284
18.  On Physical Properties of Tetraether Lipid Membranes: Effects of Cyclopentane Rings 
Archaea  2012;2012:138439.
This paper reviews the recent findings related to the physical properties of tetraether lipid membranes, with special attention to the effects of the number, position, and configuration of cyclopentane rings on membrane properties. We discuss the findings obtained from liposomes and monolayers, composed of naturally occurring archaeal tetraether lipids and synthetic tetraethers as well as the results from computer simulations. It appears that the number, position, and stereochemistry of cyclopentane rings in the dibiphytanyl chains of tetraether lipids have significant influence on packing tightness, lipid conformation, membrane thickness and organization, and headgroup hydration/orientation.
PMCID: PMC3458407  PMID: 23028246
19.  DNA Binding in High Salt: Analysing the Salt Dependence of Replication Protein A3 from the Halophile Haloferax volcanii 
Archaea  2012;2012:719092.
Halophilic archaea maintain intracellular salt concentrations close to saturation to survive in high-salt environments and their cellular processes have adapted to function under these conditions. Little is known regarding halophilic adaptation of the DNA processing machinery, particularly intriguing since protein-DNA interactions are classically salt sensitive. To investigate such adaptation, we characterised the DNA-binding capabilities of recombinant RPA3 from Haloferax volcanii (HvRPA3). Under physiological salt conditions (3 M KCl), HvRPA3 is monomeric, binding 18 nucleotide ssDNA with nanomolar affinity, demonstrating that RPAs containing the single OB-fold/zinc finger architecture bind with broadly comparable affinity to two OB-fold/zinc finger RPAs. Reducing the salt concentration to 1 M KCl induces dimerisation of the protein, which retains its ability to bind DNA. On circular ssDNA, two concentration-dependent binding modes are observed. Conventionally, increased salt concentration adversely affects DNA binding but HvRPA3 does not bind DNA in 0.2 M KCl, although multimerisation may occlude the binding site. The single N-terminal OB-fold is competent to bind DNA in the absence of the C-terminal zinc finger, albeit with reduced affinity. This study represents the first quantitative characterisation of DNA binding in a halophilic protein in extreme salt concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3438722  PMID: 22973163
20.  Thermal Adaptation of the Archaeal and Bacterial Lipid Membranes 
Archaea  2012;2012:789652.
The physiological characteristics that distinguish archaeal and bacterial lipids, as well as those that define thermophilic lipids, are discussed from three points of view that (1) the role of the chemical stability of lipids in the heat tolerance of thermophilic organisms: (2) the relevance of the increase in the proportion of certain lipids as the growth temperature increases: (3) the lipid bilayer membrane properties that enable membranes to function at high temperatures. It is concluded that no single, chemically stable lipid by itself was responsible for the adaptation of surviving at high temperatures. Lipid membranes that function effectively require the two properties of a high permeability barrier and a liquid crystalline state. Archaeal membranes realize these two properties throughout the whole biological temperature range by means of their isoprenoid chains. Bacterial membranes meet these requirements only at or just above the phase-transition temperature, and therefore their fatty acid composition must be elaborately regulated. A recent hypothesis sketched a scenario of the evolution of lipids in which the “lipid divide” emerged concomitantly with the differentiation of archaea and bacteria. The two modes of thermal adaptation were established concurrently with the “lipid divide.”
PMCID: PMC3426160  PMID: 22927779
21.  Acetate Activation in Methanosaeta thermophila: Characterization of the Key Enzymes Pyrophosphatase and Acetyl-CoA Synthetase 
Archaea  2012;2012:315153.
The thermophilic methanogen Methanosaeta thermophila uses acetate as sole substrate for methanogenesis. It was proposed that the acetate activation reaction that is needed to feed acetate into the methanogenic pathway requires the hydrolysis of two ATP, whereas the acetate activation reaction in Methanosarcina sp. is known to require only one ATP. As these organisms live at the thermodynamic limit that sustains life, the acetate activation reaction in Mt. thermophila seems too costly and was thus reevaluated. It was found that of the putative acetate activation enzymes one gene encoding an AMP-forming acetyl-CoA synthetase was highly expressed. The corresponding enzyme was purified and characterized in detail. It catalyzed the ATP-dependent formation of acetyl-CoA, AMP, and pyrophosphate (PPi) and was only moderately inhibited by PPi. The breakdown of PPi was performed by a soluble pyrophosphatase. This enzyme was also purified and characterized. The pyrophosphatase hydrolyzed the major part of PPi (KM = 0.27 ± 0.05 mM) that was produced in the acetate activation reaction. Activity was not inhibited by nucleotides or PPi. However, it cannot be excluded that other PPi-dependent enzymes take advantage of the remaining PPi and contribute to the energy balance of the cell.
PMCID: PMC3426162  PMID: 22927778
22.  Role of Motif III in Catalysis by Acetyl-CoA Synthetase 
Archaea  2012;2012:509579.
The acyl-adenylate-forming enzyme superfamily, consisting of acyl- and aryl-CoA synthetases, the adenylation domain of the nonribosomal peptide synthetases, and luciferase, has three signature motifs (I–III) and ten conserved core motifs (A1–A10), some of which overlap the signature motifs. The consensus sequence for signature motif III (core motif A7) in acetyl-CoA synthetase is Y-X-S/T/A-G-D, with an invariant fifth position, highly conserved first and fourth positions, and variable second and third positions. Kinetic studies of enzyme variants revealed that an alteration at any position resulted in a strong decrease in the catalytic rate, although the most deleterious effects were observed when the first or fifth positions were changed. Structural modeling suggests that the highly conserved Tyr in the first position plays a key role in active site architecture through interaction with a highly conserved active-site Gln, and the invariant Asp in the fifth position plays a critical role in ATP binding and catalysis through interaction with the 2′- and 3′-OH groups of the ribose moiety. Interactions between these Asp and ATP are observed in all structures available for members of the superfamily, consistent with a critical role in substrate binding and catalysis for this invariant residue.
PMCID: PMC3438747  PMID: 22973162
23.  A Novel Inducible Protein Production System and Neomycin Resistance as Selection Marker for Methanosarcina mazei 
Archaea  2012;2012:973743.
Methanosarcina mazei is one of the model organisms for the methanogenic order Methanosarcinales whose metabolism has been studied in detail. However, the genetic toolbox is still limited. This study was aimed at widening the scope of utilizable methods in this group of organisms. (i) Proteins specific to methanogens are oftentimes difficult to produce in E. coli. However, a protein production system is not available for methanogens. Here we present an inducible system to produce Strep-tagged proteins in Ms. mazei. The promoter p1687, which directs the transcription of methyl transferases that demethylate methylamines, was cloned into plasmid pWM321 and its activity was determined by monitoring β-glucuronidase production. The promoter was inactive during growth on methanol but was rapidly activated when trimethylamine was added to the medium. The gene encoding the β-glucuronidase from E. coli was fused to a Strep-tag and was cloned downstream of the p1687 promoter. The protein was overproduced in Ms. mazei and was purified in an active form by affinity chromatography. (ii) Puromycin is currently the only antibiotic used as a selectable marker in Ms. mazei and its relatives. We established neomycin resistance as a second selectable marker by designing a plasmid that confers neomycin resistance in Ms. mazei.
PMCID: PMC3407599  PMID: 22851906
24.  Effect of Growth Medium pH of Aeropyrum pernix on Structural Properties and Fluidity of Archaeosomes 
Archaea  2012;2012:285152.
The influence of pH (6.0; 7.0; 8.0) of the growth medium of Aeropyrum pernix K1 on the structural organization and fluidity of archaeosomes prepared from a polar-lipid methanol fraction (PLMF) was investigated using fluorescence anisotropy and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Fluorescence anisotropy of the lipophilic fluorofore 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene and empirical correlation time of the spin probe methylester of 5-doxylpalmitate revealed gradual changes with increasing temperature for the pH. A similar effect has been observed by using the trimethylammonium-6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene, although the temperature changes were much smaller. As the fluorescence steady-state anisotropy and the empirical correlation time obtained directly from the EPR spectra alone did not provide detailed structural information, the EPR spectra were analysed by computer simulation. This analysis showed that the archaeosome membranes are heterogeneous and composed of several regions with different modes of spin-probe motion at temperatures below 70°C. At higher temperatures, these membranes become more homogeneous and can be described by only one spectral component. Both methods indicate that the pH of the growth medium of A. pernix does not significantly influence its average membrane fluidity. These results are in accordance with TLC analysis of isolated lipids, which show no significant differences between PLMF isolated from A. pernix grown in medium with different pH.
PMCID: PMC3384975  PMID: 22778670
25.  Identification of the Major Expressed S-Layer and Cell Surface-Layer-Related Proteins in the Model Methanogenic Archaea: Methanosarcina barkeri Fusaro and Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A 
Archaea  2012;2012:873589.
Many archaeal cell envelopes contain a protein coat or sheath composed of one or more surface exposed proteins. These surface layer (S-layer) proteins contribute structural integrity and protect the lipid membrane from environmental challenges. To explore the species diversity of these layers in the Methanosarcinaceae, the major S-layer protein in Methanosarcina barkeri strain Fusaro was identified using proteomics. The Mbar_A1758 gene product was present in multiple forms with apparent sizes of 130, 120, and 100 kDa, consistent with post-translational modifications including signal peptide excision and protein glycosylation. A protein with features related to the surface layer proteins found in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A and Methanosarcina mazei Goel was identified in the M. barkeri genome. These data reveal a distinct conserved protein signature with features and implied cell surface architecture in the Methanosarcinaceae that is absent in other archaea. Paralogous gene expression patterns in two Methanosarcina species revealed abundant expression of a single S-layer paralog in each strain. Respective promoter elements were identified and shown to be conserved in mRNA coding and upstream untranslated regions. Prior M. acetivorans genome annotations assigned S-layer or surface layer associated roles of eighty genes: however, of 68 examined none was significantly expressed relative to the experimentally determined S-layer gene.
PMCID: PMC3361143  PMID: 22666082

Results 1-25 (28)