Extremotolerant and extremophilic microorganisms are able to thrive under environmental conditions that are limiting for most of known species. At the basis of their remarkable stress tolerance lie morpho-physiological, cellular and metabolic adaptations, which underpin a dramatic level of ecological plasticity. These organisms display resistance to drought, UV-irradiation, extreme values of temperature, pH and salinity, and have the aptitude to endure physico-chemical parameters which are far beyond those characterizing their natural environment, such as outer space and Mars-like conditions. Cell survival to extreme life conditions strengthens the assumption of macromolecules and pathways playing a major role in these organisms’ mechanisms of adaptation. As such, extremophiles represent a treasure box of novel molecules and bioactive compounds with potential biotechnological, medical and cosmetic applications.
Our work aims at elucidating and exploiting the molecular mechanisms at the base of stress survival in extremotolerant and extremophilic species of fungi, yeasts, bacteria and archaea, with the following main research goals:
- to deepen the knowledge on the ecophysiology and mechanisms of tolerance in adapted species;
- to detect extremophiles-derived molecules:
- with applications in microbial transformation of synthetic polymers;
- targeted against the damage caused by oxidative stress and other kind of stress
To address these objectives, we resort to a systems biology approach mostly relying on OMICs technologies (genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics).
Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California (USA); https://planetaryprotection.jpl.nasa.gov/
Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, https://boku.ac.at/ifa-tulln/institut-fuer-umweltbiotechnologie
VetCore Facility for Research, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria https://vetdoc.vu-wien.ac.at/vetdoc/suche.orgeinheit_uebersicht?sprache_in=de&menue_id_in=201&id_in=150
Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapy, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA, United States. https://www.cityofhope.org/research/diabetes-metabolism-research-institute/diabetes-institute-departments/molecular-imaging-and-therapy
STRES consortium, Joint Genome Institute (JGI) USA, www.stresblackfungi.org