DCO Project Summary

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Project Title
Biophysical and Biochemical Characterization of Novel Piezophilic Cultivars from Deep Subsurface Environments
Start DateEnd Date
2012-01-01 2014-06-30
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This sub-project of the RHC grant sought to determine underlying physical-chemical principles relating to the functioning of life under high hydrostatic pressures. The work required adaptation of existing technologies for high-pressure biophysical research to be compatible with relevant deep biosphere conditions. The work attempted to obtain both a fundamental description of biological systems at high pressure as well as integrating new cultivars and insights provided by other areas of the RHC project.

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  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Aug 31, 2014

    Update Details:

    The project made progress in moving beyond descriptions of Escherichia coli growth behavior and survival at high pressure, to studies of Shewanaella oneidensis (a Gammaproteobacteria and relative of organisms frequently encountered in deep-sea environments).  Using Quasi Elastic Neutron Scattering (QENS) approaches, the investigators made progress in understanding the behavior of water at high pressures, including its transport across cell membranes and its molecular behavior in the cytoplasm. Efforts are being made to associate these biophysical observations with adaptations recorded in the genome and proteomes of pressure-adapted strains. Importantly, the two post-docs associated with the project also participated in a field expedition to the Tonga Trench with PI Bartlett, to gain field experience associated with the study of microorganisms in deep ecosystems.

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