Chemical approaches to probe environmental stress in Archaea
Tarlykov, Pavel Victorovich
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Little is known about strategies and mechanisms employed by thermophilic organisms to adapt to environmental stress. Sulfolobus solfataricus is a thermophile that belongs to Archaea, the third domain of life, and can be found in unusual habitats, such as the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. This archaeon can tolerate high temperature, extreme acidity and high concentrations of heavy metals and other toxic substances. Thus, S. solfataricus has been chosen by many researchers as a model system for biochemical, structural, and genetic studies. In this work S. solfataricus has been exposed to hydrogen peroxide as a natural mild oxidant and arsenic as a common toxic metalloid. One of the aims was to quantitatively define the regulation of proteins upon treatment with hydrogen peroxide or arsenic species in different time periods and concentrations. In this sense, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis approach in conjunction with novel chemical tagging probes has been applied to detect changes on the level of regulation and chemical modification of individual proteins within the whole proteome in response to the stressors. Proteins expression levels have been monitored, redox-sensitive and phosphoproteomic profiles of the S. solfataricus proteome have been identified. Synthesis of the results has allowed a general scheme for how S. solfataricus fights H₂O₂- and As-induced stress. Lists of mapped proteins have been created and potential biomarkers for oxidative stress have been identified, which can guide further research to better understand mechanisms of proteomic response to the environmental stress in Archaea on the example of thermophilic archaeon S. solfataricus.