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Life 2015, 5(3), 1487-1496; doi:10.3390/life5031487

Halophilic Archaea: Life with Desiccation, Radiation and Oligotrophy over Geological Times

1
Division of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, Salzburg 5020, Austria
2
Romanian Bioresource Centre and Advanced Research, Aleea Istru 2C, blocul A 14 B, scara 8, apartment 113, Bucharest 061912, Romania
3
Institute of Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology, Vasile Goldis Western University Arad, 94-96 Revolutiei Blvd., Arad 310025, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John A. Baross and William Bains
Received: 15 June 2015 / Revised: 19 July 2015 / Accepted: 22 July 2015 / Published: 28 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Physico-Chemical Limits of Life)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [601 KB, uploaded 28 July 2015]   |  

Abstract

Halophilic archaebacteria (Haloarchaea) can survive extreme desiccation, starvation and radiation, sometimes apparently for millions of years. Several of the strategies that are involved appear specific for Haloarchaea (for example, the formation of halomucin, survival in fluid inclusions of halite), and some are known from other prokaryotes (dwarfing of cells, reduction of ATP). Several newly-discovered haloarchaeal strategies that were inferred to possibly promote long-term survival—halomucin, polyploidy, usage of DNA as a phosphate storage polymer, production of spherical dormant stages—remain to be characterized in detail. More information on potential strategies is desirable, since evidence for the presence of halite on Mars and on several moons in the solar system increased interest in halophiles with respect to the search for extraterrestrial life. This review deals in particular with novel findings and hypotheses on haloarchaeal long-term survival. View Full-Text
Keywords: Halococcus species; Halococcus salifodinae; Haloarchaea; long-term survival; halomucin; polyploidy; ancient salt deposit; extraterrestrial halite Halococcus species; Halococcus salifodinae; Haloarchaea; long-term survival; halomucin; polyploidy; ancient salt deposit; extraterrestrial halite
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Stan-Lotter, H.; Fendrihan, S. Halophilic Archaea: Life with Desiccation, Radiation and Oligotrophy over Geological Times. Life 2015, 5, 1487-1496.

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