What makes bacteria adapt to extreme environments?
Recent evidence from Víctor de Lorenzo, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain, suggests that a limited number of functions suffice to change the predilection of microorganisms for radically different environmental scenarios. For instance, expression of a few genes from cold-loving bacteria in mesophilic hosts allows them to grow at much lower temperatures and become heat-sensitive.
These findings can provide new tools for engineering bacteria with a superior biotechnological performance for applications such as designing vaccines based on temperature-sensitive pathogens.
- Genes that move the window of viability of life: Lessons from bacteria thriving at the cold extreme
V. de Lorenzo,
BioEssays 2011, 33(1), 38–42.