2023 14 B1

BIOL446: Unique Genes Found in Deep Sea Aquificales for High Pressure Adaptation

By: Janette Perez-Rubio

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. José R. De La Torre

Aquificales are bacteria know to live in extreme environments, specifically in hydrothermal systems. These microorganisms can live in varying environments that can range from terrestrial hot springs down to deep hydrothermal vents. All members of the Aquificales have evolved strategies to cope with high temperatures. However, a significant difference between these environments are the differences in pressure experienced by microorganisms in surface hot springs compared to deep-sea hydrothermal vents. I propose that there may be some unique proteins and genes that may exist in each to help them overcome the difference in varying pressure conditions. Using tools available online to compare the genomes of Aquificales from diverse habitats, I will identify protein-coding genes that are found exclusively in Aquificales from deep-sea vents. I will then characterize these genes to find their function and identify potential biochemical pathways to determine their role in helping these organisms thrive at high pressure. Online tools such as KEGG and MetaCyc will be used to determine how those proteins are involved in metabolic pathways that may be involved in stabilizing the cell under immense pressure versus those that live in terrestrial springs. It's important to note that our understanding of deep sea Aquificales is still evolving, and through using tools from IMG as well as KEGG and BLAST, our knowledge will be expanded to understand the adaptions they have evolved to survive under the pressure of the deep sea.