Next Article in Journal
Pavilion Lake Microbialites: Morphological, Molecular and Biochemical Evidence for a Cold-Water Transition to Colonial Aggregates
Next Article in Special Issue
Halophilic Bacteria as a Source of Novel Hydrolytic Enzymes
Previous Article in Journal
Quantum Biological Channel Modeling and Capacity Calculation
Previous Article in Special Issue
Molecular Mechanisms of Survival Strategies in Extreme Conditions
Life 2013, 3(1), 1-20; doi:10.3390/life3010001
Review

The Function of Gas Vesicles in Halophilic Archaea and Bacteria: Theories and Experimental Evidence

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904, Jerusalem, Israel
Received: 29 November 2012 / Revised: 16 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles and Extreme Environments)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [308 KB, uploaded 27 December 2012]   |   Browse Figures

Abstract

A few extremely halophilic Archaea (Halobacterium salinarum, Haloquadratum walsbyi, Haloferax mediterranei, Halorubrum vacuolatum, Halogeometricum borinquense, Haloplanus spp.) possess gas vesicles that bestow buoyancy on the cells. Gas vesicles are also produced by the anaerobic endospore-forming halophilic Bacteria Sporohalobacter lortetii and Orenia sivashensis. We have extensive information on the properties of gas vesicles in Hbt. salinarum and Hfx. mediterranei and the regulation of their formation. Different functions were suggested for gas vesicle synthesis: buoying cells towards oxygen-rich surface layers in hypersaline water bodies to prevent oxygen limitation, reaching higher light intensities for the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin, positioning the cells optimally for light absorption, light shielding, reducing the cytoplasmic volume leading to a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio (for the Archaea) and dispersal of endospores (for the anaerobic spore-forming Bacteria). Except for Hqr. walsbyi which abounds in saltern crystallizer brines, gas-vacuolate halophiles are not among the dominant life forms in hypersaline environments. There only has been little research on gas vesicles in natural communities of halophilic microorganisms, and the few existing studies failed to provide clear evidence for their possible function. This paper summarizes the current status of the different theories why gas vesicles may provide a selective advantage to some halophilic microorganisms.
Keywords: gas vesicles; Halobacterium; Haloferax; Haloquadratum; Haloplanus; Halogeometricum; bacteriorhodopsin; oxygen gas vesicles; Halobacterium; Haloferax; Haloquadratum; Haloplanus; Halogeometricum; bacteriorhodopsin; oxygen
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote
MDPI and ACS Style

Oren, A. The Function of Gas Vesicles in Halophilic Archaea and Bacteria: Theories and Experimental Evidence. Life 2013, 3, 1-20.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here

Comments

Cited By

[Return to top]
Life EISSN 2075-1729 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert