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Environ Microbiol. 2002 Sep;4(9):501-9.

Compatible solutes of organisms that live in hot saline environments.

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Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Apartado 127, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal.


The accumulation of organic solutes is a prerequisite for osmotic adjustment of all microorganisms. Thermophilic and hyperthermophilic organisms generally accumulate very unusual compatible solutes namely, di-myo-inositol-phosphate, di-mannosyl-di-myo-inositol-phosphate, di-glycerol-phosphate, mannosylglycerate and mannosylglyceramide, which have not been identified in bacteria or archaea that grow at low and moderate temperatures. There is also a growing awareness that some of these compatible solutes may have a role in the protection of cell components against thermal denaturation. Mannosylglycerate and di-glycerol-phosphate have been shown to protect enzymes and proteins from thermal denaturation in vitro as well, or better, than compatible solutes from mesophiles. The pathways leading to the synthesis of some of these compatible solutes from thermophiles and hyperthermophiles have been elucidated. However, large numbers of questions remain unanswered. Fundamental and applied interest in compatible -solutes and osmotic adjustment in these organisms, drives research that, will, in the near future, allow us to understand the role of compatible solutes in osmotic protection and thermoprotection of some of the most fascinating organisms known on Earth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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