We might think of them as living on the very edge of existence. Referred to as extremophiles, these microorganisms exhibit the most radical capacity for adaptation in those harsh environments that are just barely conducive to the existence of cellular life. Unlocking the mechanisms and understanding the evolutionary development that allows these simple organisms to thrive can teach us much about microbiology in extremis. Highly diverse, these microorganisms are found nearly everywhere. One example, thermophiles are microorganisms that thrive at temperatures above the mesophilic range of 25-40 degrees C. Until recently, due to their extreme environment, the study of thermophiles was limited. However with the advent of new tools, particularly genetic analysis, remarkable strides have been made.
Thermophiles: Biology and Technology at High Temperatures presents a cogent summary of the progress made in studying these extremophiles.
Discover how thermophiles demonstrate extremes that indicate a lack of evolutionary constraints
Much is being learned from the study of thermophiles, especially our understanding of biology at the molecular level and the genetic mechanisms that permit adaptation. Included in this volume is a discussion of protective strategies of thermophiles, including their thermostability, which allow them to maintain functional proteins. It also investigates whether hyperthermophiles employ protein phosphorylation-dephosphryation as a molecular regulatory mechanism, and provides significant clues regarding the synthesis of protein. By studying this extreme example, its subtle, yet exaggerated response mechanisms, and its development over the course of many short-lived generations, we may begin to understand the mechanisms in diseases linked to improper protein folding, and also begin to more fully understand the ingenious design of DNA, and all that such an understanding implies regarding the survival of human life in a rapidly changing environment.
The challenges to life at extremely high temperature; Frank Robb, Garo Antranikain, Arnold Driessen, and Dennis Grogan
MOLECULAR BASIS OF THERMOSTABILITY
Extrinsic protein stabilization; H. Santos
The relationship between catalytic activity, structural flexibility and conformational stability as deduced from the analysis of mesophilic - thermophilic enzyme pairs and protein engineering studies; R. Sterner and E. Bruner
Membranes and membrane proteins; A. J. M. Driessen and S-V. Albers
Protein chaperones; F. T. Robb and P. Laksanalamai
Physical Properties of Membranes Composed of Tetraether Archaeal Lipids; P. L-G Chong
HEAT-STABLE ENZYMES AND METABOLISM
Glycolysis in hyperthermophiles; P. Schoenheit
The industrial relevance of thermophiles and their enzymes; G. Antranikian,
Denitrification pathway enzymes of extremophiles; S. DeVries and I. Schroder
GENETICS OF THERMOPHILES
DNA repair and mutagenesis; M. F. White, D. T. Grogan
Plasmids and cloning vectors for thermophilic archaea; K. M. Stedman
Genetic analysis in extremely thermophilic bacteria: An overview; D. W. Grogan
Establishing gene function in archaea by targeted mutagenesis; H. Atomi and T. Imanaka
Nanobiotechnological potential of viruses of hyperthermophilic archaea.; T. Basta and D. Prangishvili
MINIMAL COMPLEXITY MODEL SYSTEMS
Master keys to DNA replication, repair, and recombination from the structural biology of enzymes from thermophiles; L. Fan, R. S. Williams, D. S. Shin, B. Chapados, and J. A. Tainer
DNA replication in thermophiles; J-H Shin, L. M. Kelman and Z. Kelman
DNA binding proteins and DNA topology; K. Sandman
Structure and function of the Thermus ribosome; S. T. Gregory and A. E. Dalberg
Protein Phosphorylation at 80°C and Beyond; P. J. Kennelly
The 20S Proteasome from (Hyper)thermophilic Archaea: Model System for Protein Degradation; J. K. Michel and R. M. Kelly
"This is an interesting and readable account of the thermophiles that will be of use to both researchers and students...it is a broad, informative account of the subject that goes beyond an introduction to the topic, and it is a volume I would certainly recommend."
- David Pearce, Society of General Microbiology, Feb. 2009