2023 21 B1

BIOL446: Tracking the Presence of Heat Shock Proteins in Thermophilic Bacterial Phylum Aquificota

By: Rodrigo Cuellar

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. José R. De La Torre

Most bacteria will not survive at high temperatures, however organisms such as Persephonella hydrogeniphila can survive near deep-sea hydrothermal vents that reach temperatures that exceed 70 °C. This is because Aquificales has developed a specific set of adaptations to survive at these extreme temperatures. Heat shock genes are expressed in response to external cell stress. I hypothesize that Aquificales bacteria that are exposed to near constant thermal stress will have more diverse and more numerous heat shock proteins than organisms that typically do not survive at those high temperatures. This analysis can be carried by identifying heat shock proteins and comparing their distribution and abundance in relevant Aquificales as well as non-thermophilic bacteria. We expect there to be a clear difference between Aquificales and non-Aquificales organisms when it comes to heat shock proteins. To carry out these analyses, I will use online tools available at the Integrated Microbial Genomes database (IMG) as well as sequence comparison tools such as NCBI’s BLAST software. Using this software it would be possible to track which heat shock proteins are present in the various organisms. By answering the question this project aims to identify which heat shock proteins play important roles in the survival of Aquificales bacteria in high temperature environments.