NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
The Role of Stress Proteins in Cell Stabilization: A Perspective from an ExtremophileThe existence of organisms that live at near boiling temperatures is living proof that all of the complex biochemical machinery of life can be adapted to function under these harsh conditions. The purpose of our research is to elucidate the role of a group of proteins known as heat shock proteins or HSP60s in this adaptation to high temperatures. HSP60s are found in all organisms and they are among the most highly conserved proteins known. We are investigating HSP60s in an organism growing at 80 C and pH 2.0 (Sulfolobus shibatae). This organism produces three closely-related HSP60 proteins, referred to as HSP60 alpha, beta, and gamma. Our DOE-funded research during the last two years has focused on clarifying the role of FiSP60 alpha and beta. These are among the two most abundant proteins in S. shibatae grown at high temperatures and significantly increase in abundance when the cells are exposed to near-lethal temperatures. We have demonstrated that these proteins protect the cells from lethal temperatures by stabilizing their membranes. During this last year we have been studying gamma, which was discovered by genome sequence analysis but nothing was known about its function. We have determined that gamma is only expressed at low temperatures. that it interacts with alpha and beta, and that it influences their ability to form higher-order structures critical to their function. We propose that gamma modulates HSP60 function at low temperatures.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Trent, Jonathan (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 8, 2001
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.