Ever since extremophiles were discovered in 1965 in the near-boiling water of the Octopus Spring geyser at Yellowstone National Park, they have forever changed our perceptions of living organisms. Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles presents the most comprehensive survey of these fascinating microorganisms. Because of their capacity to live and thrive in harsh environments, extremophiles are believed to have played a significant role in shaping all life on Earth and may hold the keys to the search for extra-terrestrial life. Owing to their unique characteristics, these organisms also have become vitally important to the field of biotechnology.
This volume provides a detailed overview of the current state of knowledge about this special group of organisms. The 28 chapters written by experts around the globe identify extremophiles, explore their unique ecologies, explain their physiologies, and discuss biotechnological applications. This extensive and up-to-date survey is the first to thoroughly describe the environments where these organisms reside and sheds light, at the molecular level, on the mechanisms that enable these unique organisms to survive. Covering all known types of extremophiles (including thermophiles, psychrophiles, halophiles, acidophiles, piezophiles, and alkaliphiles), this volume is an indispensable reference for the latest knowledge about all extremophiles and their environments. Additionally, the authors clarify the critical importance of extremophiles to astrobiology and the search for the origins of life.
Introduction. 1. Extremophiles and the Origin of Life . Sara Islas, Ana Maria Velasco, Arturo Becerra, Luis Delaye, and Antonio Lazcano. Thermophiles. 2. Thermal Environments and Biodiversity. Elizabeth A. Burgess, Isaac D. Wagner, and Jurgen Wiegel. 3. Functional Genomics in Thermophilic Microorganisms. Frank T. Robb and Deborah T. Newby. 4. How Nucleic Acids Cope with High Temperature. Henri Grosjean and Tairo Oshima. 5. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites. Jan Massant. 6. Temperature-Dependent Molecular Adaptation Features in Proteins. Sandeep Kumar, Sunil Arya, and Ruth Nussinov. 7. The Physiological Role, Biosynthesis, and Mode of Action of Compatible Solutes from (Hyper)thermophiles. Helena Santos, Pedro Lamosa, Tiago Q. Faria, Nuno Borges, and Clelia Neves. 8. Membrane Adaptations of Hyperthermophiles to High Temperatures. Arnold J. M. Driessen and Sonja V. Albers. Psychrophiles. 9. Ecology and Biodiversity of Cold-Adapted Microorganisms. Don A. Cowan, Ana Casanueva, and William Stafford. 10. Life in Ice Formations at Very Cold Temperatures. Jody W. Deming. 11. Lake Vostok and Subglacial Lakes of Antarctica: Do They Host Life?. Guido di Prisco. 12. Psychrophiles: Membrane Adaptations. Nicholas J. Russell. 13. Cold-Adapted Enzymes. Tony Collins, Salvino D'Amico, Jean-Claude Marx, Georges Feller, and Charles Gerday. 14. The Cold-Shock Response. Masayori Inouye and Sangita Phadtare. 15. Perception and Transduction of Low Temperature in Bacteria. S. Shivaji, M. D. Kiran, and S. Chintalapati. 16. An Interplay between Metabolic and Physico-chemical Constraints: Lessons from the Psychrophilic Prokaryote Genomes. Antoine Danchin. Halophiles. 17. Biodiversity in Highly Saline Environments. Aharon Oren. 18. Response to Osmotic Stress in a Haloarchaeal Genome: a Role for General Stress Proteins and Global Regulatory Mechanisms. Guadalupe Juez, David Fenosa, Aitor Gonzaga, Elena Soria, and Francisco J. M. Mojica. 19. Molecular Adaptation to High Salt. Frederic Vellieux, Dominique Madern, Giuseppe Zaccai, and Christine Ebel. Acidophiles. 20. Physiology and Ecology of Acidophilic Microorganisms. D. Barrie Johnson. 21. Acidophiles: Mechanisms To Tolerate Metal and Acid Toxicity. Sylvia Franke and Christopher Rensing. 22. Genomics of Acidophiles. A. Angelov and W. Liebl. Alkaliphiles. 23. Environmental and Taxonomic Biodiversities of Gram-Positive Alkaliphiles. Isao Yumoto. 24. Bioenergetic Adaptations That Support Alkaliphily. Terry Ann Krulwich, David B. Hicks, Talia Swartz, and Masahiro Ito. Piezophiles. 25. Microbial Adaptation to High Pressure. Douglas H. Bartlett, Federico M. Lauro, and Emiley A. Eloe. Exobiology. 26.Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe. Giles M. Marion and Dirk Schulze-Makuch. Biotechnology. 27. Extremophiles, a Unique Resource of Biocatalysts for Industrial Biotechnology. Garabed Antranikian and Ksenia Egorova. Lessons from Extremophiles. 28. Lessons from Extremophiles: Early Evolution and Border Conditions of Life. Ying Xu and Nicolas Glansdorff
Editors: Charles Gerday, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium Nicolas Glansdorff, Free University of Brussels (VUB), Brussels, Belgium