Proteomic Insights: Cryoadaption of Permafrost Bacteria Page: 1 of 13
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Proteomic Insights: Cryoadaptation
of Permafrost Bacteria
Yinghua Qiu, Tatiana A. Vishnivetskaya, and David M. Lubman()
Permafrost, which is defined as a subsurface frozen layer that remains frozen for
more than 2 years, makes up more than 20% of the land surface of the earth, including
82% of Alaska, 50% of Russia and Canada, 20% of China, and most of the surface
of Antarctica (Harris 1986; Williams and Smith 1989; Storad 1990). Permafrost
poses unique challenges to its resident biota because of the permanently cold temper-
ature of the soils, averaging -10 to -120C, and the length of time over which the soils
were frozen, which may be from a few thousand to even 2-3 million years.
To survive at subfreezing temperatures in permafrost, microbes have apparently
developed various adaptive mechanisms. Electron microscopic examination of bac-
terial cells in a chip of permafrost core revealed that bacterial cells may survive due
to reduction of cell size and formation of "dwarf' curved forms similar to nano-
forms. The in situ permafrost bacteria, further characterized by thickened cell walls,
altered structure of cytoplasm, compact nucleoid, showed similarities to cyst-like
resting forms of non-spore-forming bacteria (Soina et al. 2004). The survival
mechanisms may include reduction of the polar polysaccharide capsular layer,
decrease of the fractional volume of cellular water, increase of the fraction of
ordered cellular water, or extraction of energy by catalyzing redox reactions of ions
in thin aqueous films in permafrost (McGrath and Gilichinsky 1994; Ostroumov
and Siegert 1996; Mindock et al. 2001; Gilichinsky 2002). Among such adaptive
processes, not only the bacteria themselves might be affected by environmental low
temperature and induced cold-adapted features, but also the production of cold-
induced organic molecules within them, such as polysaccharides, proteins and
enzymes that sustain their metabolism at low temperatures.
Progress on low-temperature adaptation research has been achieved mainly
through genomic or physiological studies. Proteomic analysis provides the dynamic
information of cells which reflects the actual live status of cells. Protein patterns
demonstrated that growth temperature substantially reprogrammed the proteome.
David M. Lubman
Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center, MI 48109, USA
R. Margesin (ed.) Permafrost Soils, Soil Biology 16, 169
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-69371-0, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009
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Qiu, Yinghua; Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana A. & Lubman, David M. Proteomic Insights: Cryoadaption of Permafrost Bacteria, book, January 1, 2009; Berlin Heidelberg, Germany. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929525/m1/1/: accessed January 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.