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Functional genomics of organisms from the third kingdom of life.
The genus Sulfolobus is comprised of thermoacidophilic organisms that thrive at 80°C and pH 3. The organisms are globally distributed in geothermal environments, including hot springs and volcanic areas in Iceland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and USA. Sulfolobus has become one of the best understood archaeal model systems, and complete genome sequences are available for several species. We have recently completed dual whole-genome microarrays for S. solfataricus and S. acidocaldarius, and the project concerns complete transcriptome analyses of both organisms. A wide range of conditions are under investigation with the arrays, including heterotrophic vs. autotrophic growth, exponential vs. stationary phase, cell-cycle specific gene expression, antibiotic effects, stress responses, virus-host interactions and mRNA half-lifes. The detailed contents of the work will depend upon the status of the project, as well as upon the interests of the student.
The potential for discovery of novel functions is significantly higher than in studies of other organisms, due to the evolutionary uniqueness and extreme adaptations of Sulfolobus species. Since the species are hyperthermophiles, all gene products are heat-resistant, and a main aim is to identify novel thermostable proteins of biotechnological value. Also, since the archaeal information machinery is homologous to that of eukaryotes, the project contributes to an increased understanding of eukaryotes, in addition to providing fundamental information about the biology of the archaea and extremophiles.
For additional information, see: http://artedi.ebc.uu.se/molev/resarch/archaea.html
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