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The cell membrane plays a crucial role in survival of bacteria and archaea in extreme environments

Konings, W. N., Albers, S-V., Koning, S. & Driessen, A. J. M., 2002, In : Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek: International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology. 81, 1-4, p. 61 - 72 12 p.

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The cytoplasmic membrane of bacteria and archaea determine to a large extent the composition of the cytoplasm. Since the ion and in particular the proton and/or the sodium ion electrochemical gradients across the membranes are crucial for the bioenergetic conditions of these microorganisms, strategies are needed to restrict the permeation of these ions across their cytoplasmic membrane. The proton and sodium permeabilities of all biological membranes increase with the temperature. Psychrophilic and mesophilic bacteria, and mesophilic, (hyper)thermophilic and halophilic archaea are capable of adjusting the lipid composition of their membranes in such a way that the proton permeability at the respective growth temperature remains low and constant (homeo-proton permeability). Thermophilic bacteria, however, have more difficulties to restrict the proton permeation across their membrane at high temperatures and these organisms have to rely on the less permeable sodium ions for maintaining a high sodium-motive force for driving their energy requiring membrane-bound processes. Transport of solutes across the bacterial and archaeal membrane is mainly catalyzed by primary ATP driven transport systems or by proton or sodium motive force driven secondary transport systems. Unlike most bacteria, hyperthermophilic bacteria and archaea prefer primary ATP-driven uptake systems for their carbon and energy sources. Several high-affinity ABC transporters for sugars from hyperthermophiles have been identified and characterized. The activities of these ABC transporters allow these organisms to thrive in their nutrient-poor environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61 - 72
Number of pages12
JournalAntonie Van Leeuwenhoek: International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology
Volume81
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

    Keywords

  • energy transduction, extreme environments, ion-permeability, membrane, solute transport, COUPLED ENERGY TRANSDUCTION, MALTOSE-BINDING PROTEIN, AMINO-ACID-TRANSPORT, CLOSTRIDIUM-FERVIDUS, THERMOPHILIC BACILLUS, GROWTH TEMPERATURE, TETRAETHER LIPIDS, SULFOLOBUS-SOLFATARICUS, THERMOCOCCUS-LITORALIS, PYROCOCCUS-FURIOSUS

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