(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have figured out how some archaea survive in acidic hot springs. It is reported by the University of Exeter.
Archaea is a domain of living beings, one of three along with bacteria and eukaryotes. In general, they resemble bacteria, but they are arranged very differently and have a different biochemistry.
In particular, many archaea are extremophiles and live in hot springs, in areas of high salinity or acidity.
Now scientists have figured out what exactly allows the archaea Sulfolobus acidocaldarius to survive in the acidic springs of Yellowstone Park with temperatures around 80 degrees.
This species inhabits the source in the form of biofilms on the rocks. The authors grew S. acidocaldarius in special incubators and isolated threads from their cells.
They then froze the filaments to very low temperatures and visualized them using a transmission electron microscope.
It turned out that this species has a new type of protein filaments (filamentous structures) of archaea.
“The filaments are made up of tadpole-shaped protein subunits that are connected like beads on a string,” the authors explain.
The subunits are held together by extremely strong bonds: each tadpole-shaped subunit inserts its “tail” into the “head” of the next subunit down the chain, and so on.”
Thanks to their strong fibers, the cells of these archaea are able to combine and stay connected in biofilms even under the most adverse conditions.
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