Extremophiles are organisms that inhabit extreme environments. Studying these organisms has been increasingly relevant and frequent because it has implications in the fields of astrobiology, the origin of life and biotechnology. Notably, the Archaea are a group of microorganisms that rule these environments with many extremophiles representatives. Halobacterium salinarum is part of this group; it is an obligate halophilic archaeon that grows in concentrations of salt up to 4.5M and resists to other extreme conditions like UV and gamma radiation and desiccation. Studies assessing the stress response of H. salinarum to UV radiation have been made, and this organism counts with diverse mechanisms to its protection and damage repair. H. salinarum is a great model organism to study extremophile resistance since it is easy to grow, has a sequenced genome and there are techniques to genetically modify it, in addition to the existence of a large amount of data available in genomic scale, specially transcriptome data. The present project aims to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of H. salinarum response to UV radiation, emphasizing phenotypic behavior and post-transcriptional control. Simulations of stressful environments will be made, especially of UV radiation, followed by survival and phenotypical evaluation, besides analysis of the genes previously known to be involved in the stress response to UV radiation regarding RNA levels, transcription start sites and the presence of antisense RNAs using RNAseq data already obtained in the laboratory. The project has one-year duration and will be divided between Ribeirão Preto Medical School of the University of São Paulo, where growth, molecular characterization and analysis of transcriptome data will be made, and Chemistry Institute of the University of São Paulo, where will be given emphasis to environmental simulation and survival measurements.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: