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Proteomic analysis of the extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon Picrophilus torridus at pH and temperature values close to its growth limit

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Abstract

The thermoacidophilic archaeon Picrophilus torridus belongs to the Thermoplasmatales order and is the most acidophilic organism known to date, growing under extremely acidic conditions around pH 0 (pHopt 1) and simultaneously at high temperatures up to 65°C. Some genome features that may be responsible for survival under these harsh conditions have been concluded from the analysis of its 1.55 megabase genome sequence. A proteomic map was generated for P. torridus cells grown to the mid-exponential phase. The soluble fraction of the cells was separated by isoelectric focusing in the pH ranges 4–7 and 3–10, followed by a two dimension (2D) on SDS-PAGE gels. A total of 717 Coomassie collodial-stained protein spots from both pH ranges (pH 4–7 and 3–10) were excised and subjected to LC-MS/MS, leading to the identification of 665 soluble protein spots. Most of the enzymes of the central carbon metabolism were identified on the 2D gels, corroborating biochemically the metabolic pathways predicted from the P. torridus genome sequence. The 2D master gels elaborated in this study represent useful tools for physiological studies of this thermoacidophilic organism. Based on quantitative 2D gel electrophoresis, a proteome study was performed to find pH- or temperature-dependent differences in the proteome composition under changing growth conditions. The proteome expression patterns at two different temperatures (50 and 70°C) and two different pH conditions (pH 0.5 and 1.8) were compared. Several proteins were up-regulated under most stress stimuli tested, pointing to general roles in coping with stress.

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