Bionics to uncover the mystery of paleobacteria acidophilus

Researchers at the Suzhou Institute of Nanotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences have used biomimetic methods to successfully reveal the acid adaptation mechanism of archaebacteria. Related results have recently been published in Scientific Reports.

Archaea are single-celled organisms that do not contain cell nuclei and membrane-enclosed organelles. They mostly live in extreme environments such as high temperature, high salt, high pressure, or extreme pH. The adaptation mechanism of archaeal bacteria to extreme environments has always been one of the research hotspots in the field of microbiology. Scientists have found that the proportion of glycolipids in the lipid molecules that make up the cell membrane of acidophilic archaea is much higher than that of other types of organisms. However, due to the lack of suitable tools and means, the role of glycolipids in proton defense has not been Get enough research.

The Ma Hongwei research group of the Institute of Nanotechnology of Suzhou creatively introduced bionics methods, using the internal polymer film rich in hydroxyl groups-polymethacrylic acid oligoethylene glycol ester as the bionic polymer layer to simulate the glycolipid surface of the acidophilic archaea The formation of hydroxyl-rich sugar quilts to quantitatively study the role of hydroxyl groups in the acid tolerance mechanism of acidophilic archaea. The researchers confirmed that the biomimetic polymer layer has a significant proton shielding effect by using a real-time monitoring device with nanogram-level sensitivity, a quartz crystal microbalance, and can maintain the pH value for a long time in an acidic liquid environment with a pH value of 1.0. 5.0 local microenvironment. Through copolymerization and block polymerization, the researchers successfully conducted a systematic study and detailed modulation of the proton shielding ability, and initially verified its effect in three-dimensional space.

The researchers found that when the same concentration of monomer molecules were dissolved in the solution, the free hydroxyl groups did not exhibit proton shielding properties, indicating that the performance depends on the fixation and enrichment of hydroxyl groups by the polymer backbone. In nature, the acidophilic archaea cleverly uses the lipid molecular skeleton that constitutes the cell membrane to "hold the role". The lipid skeleton is densely arranged and can perform the function of fixing and enriching hydroxyl groups.

This bionic study quantitatively revealed a low pH adaptation mechanism of acidophilic archaea, clearly confirmed the proton shielding effect of hydroxyl groups, and its results can be applied to the development of acid-proof materials. The biomimetic system constructed in the study can continue to be used in the evaluation and screening of other acid-proof molecules and groups, and is expected to develop into a standardized proton shielding research system.

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