Organic Compatible Solutes of Prokaryotes that Thrive in Hot Environments: The Importance of Ionic Compounds for Thermostabilization

  • Helena SantosEmail author
  • Pedro Lamosa
  • Nuno Borges
  • Luís G. Gonçalves
  • Tiago Pais
  • Marta V. Rodrigues


Many mesophilic organisms use uncharged, small organic compounds, designated compatible solutes (Brown 1976), to preserve cell viability under different stressful environmental conditions, namely to balance fluctuations in the osmotic pressure of the external milieu (Brown 1976; da Costa et al. 1998; Roberts 2005). In some cases, small molecules, like sarcosine and trimethylamine N-oxide, are used to counteract the potentially lethal, denaturing effect brought about by the accumulation of urea in the cell under physiological conditions (Yancey and Somero 1979; Sackett 1997; Yancey 2005; Treberg et al. 2006). Not surprisingly, microorganisms adapted to thrive in hot, marine environments accumulate organic solutes, which are believed to play a role in the protection of cell proteins, and other macromolecules, against structural disruption caused by high thermal energy (Santos et al. 2007a). Several radiation resistant microorganisms accumulate trehalose, an organic solute...


Heat Stress Organic Solute Compatible Solute Thermophilic Bacterium Charged Solute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) and Programa Operacional Ciência e Inovação (POCTI), Portugal, PTDC/BIA-MIC/71146/2006, and PTDC/BIO/70806/2006. L.G. Gonçalves, T. Pais and M.V. Rodrigues acknowledge grants from FCT, Portugal (SFRH/BPD/26905/2006, SFRH/BD/42210/2007, and SFRH/BD/25539/2005, respectively). The NMR spectrometers are part of The National NMR Network (REDE/1517/RMN/2005), supported by “Programa Operacional Ciência e Inovação (POCTI) 2010” and Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Santos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pedro Lamosa
    • 1
  • Nuno Borges
    • 1
  • Luís G. Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Tiago Pais
    • 1
  • Marta V. Rodrigues
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de LisboaOeirasPortugal

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