NEW YORK, July 25 (GenomeWeb News) - An team of researchers led by scientists at the Institute for Genomic Research has sequenced and analyzed the genome of Colwellia psychrerythraea, a bacterium that thrives in the Arctic Ocean at temperatures below 5° Celsius.
A paper analyzing characteristics of the C. psychrerythraea genome that may be related to cold adaptation was published today in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The C. psychrerythraea genome comprises a single circular chromosome of approximately 5.4 million base pairs. Of the organism's 4,937 putative genes, the researchers identified several regions that may encode cold-adaptive traits, such as cell membranes that contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that resist freezing, polyhydroxyalkanoate compounds that provide extra energy reserves, protective solutes inside cells, and enzymes similar to those found in other organisms that have been altered to function in subzero temperatures.
According to the TIGR researchers, cold-adapted enzymes offer a range of potential industrial applications, and could serve as active ingredients in coldwater detergents, clean-up agents for industrial contaminants, and food treatments.
In addition the TIGR team, study collaborators include researchers from the University of Washington at Seattle, the University of Maryland at College Park, Pennsylvania State University at University Park, and the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology in Rockville.