Episode Summary

In honor of World Ocean Day: Bacteria that may move between high and low pressure areas in the ocean use a particular molecule to protect their cells from being crushed!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Rickettsia rickettsii

Jesse's takeaways

Life in the ocean can have many challenges, depending on the organism and where it lives. Microbes can be found in almost every region, from the warmest to coldest, brightest to darkest, and shallowest to deepest. Sometimes microbes are carried from shallow to deep regions, where the weight of so much water causes immense pressure, which can inhibit cellular structural integrity and function. So life in the deep sea must have ways to deal with this pressure to survive. In this study, bacteria transform a fairly common chemical into a molecule that cushions and protects their cellular structures from the effects of high pressure, allowing them to survive lower down than they would otherwise.

News Item(s)

Journal Paper

Qin Q-L, Wang Z-B, Su H-N, Chen X-L, Miao J, Wang X-J, Li C-Y, Zhang X-Y, Li P-Y, Wang M, Fang J, Lidbury I, Zhang W, Zhang X-H, Yang G-P, Chen Y, Zhang Y-Z. 2021. Oxidation of trimethylamine to trimethylamine N -oxide facilitates high hydrostatic pressure tolerance in a generalist bacterial lineage. Sci Adv 7:eabf9941.

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Porous interior of bone