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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Mar 25;1595(1-2):367-81.

Pressure effects on in vivo microbial processes.

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Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 8682 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0202, USA.


Pressures between 10 and 100 MPa can exert powerful effects on the growth and viability of organisms. Here I describe the effects of elevated pressure in this range on mesophilic (atmospheric pressure adapted) and piezophilic (high-pressure adapted) microorganisms. Examination of pressure effects on mesophiles makes use of this unique physical parameter to aid in the characterization of fundamental cellular processes, while in the case of piezophiles it provides information on the essence of the adaptation of life to high-pressure environments, which comprise the bulk of our biosphere. Research is presented on the isolation of pressure-resistant mutants, high-pressure regulation of gene expression, the role of membrane lipids and proteins in determining growth ability at high pressure, pressure effects on DNA replication and topology as well as on cell division, and the role of extrinsic factors in modulating enzyme activity at high pressure.

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