Microbial growth at hyperaccelerations up to 403,627 × g

Edited by Henry J. Melosh, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and approved March 15, 2011 (received for review December 19, 2010)
April 25, 2011
108 (19) 7997-8002

Abstract

It is well known that prokaryotic life can withstand extremes of temperature, pH, pressure, and radiation. Little is known about the proliferation of prokaryotic life under conditions of hyperacceleration attributable to extreme gravity, however. We found that living organisms can be surprisingly proliferative during hyperacceleration. In tests reported here, a variety of microorganisms, including Gram-negative Escherichia coli, Paracoccus denitrificans, and Shewanella amazonensis; Gram-positive Lactobacillus delbrueckii; and eukaryotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae, were cultured while being subjected to hyperaccelerative conditions. We observed and quantified robust cellular growth in these cultures across a wide range of hyperacceleration values. Most notably, the organisms P. denitrificans and E. coli were able to proliferate even at 403,627 × g. Analysis shows that the small size of prokaryotic cells is essential for their proliferation under conditions of hyperacceleration. Our results indicate that microorganisms cannot only survive during hyperacceleration but can display such robust proliferative behavior that the habitability of extraterrestrial environments must not be limited by gravity.

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Acknowledgments

Katsuyuki Uematsu and Tomoko Takahashi are acknowledged for assistance in transmission electron microscopy observations. We thank Kanya Kusano and Yasushi Suto for discussions and Sandra Carpenter for editing assistance. S.M. is supported by the Program for Improvement of Research Environment for Young Researchers from Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology, Japan. H.S. acknowledges Ron Usami, Toyo University, for support.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 108 | No. 19
May 10, 2011
PubMed: 21518884

Classifications

Submission history

Published online: April 25, 2011
Published in issue: May 10, 2011

Keywords

  1. astrobiology
  2. extremophiles

Acknowledgments

Katsuyuki Uematsu and Tomoko Takahashi are acknowledged for assistance in transmission electron microscopy observations. We thank Kanya Kusano and Yasushi Suto for discussions and Sandra Carpenter for editing assistance. S.M. is supported by the Program for Improvement of Research Environment for Young Researchers from Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology, Japan. H.S. acknowledges Ron Usami, Toyo University, for support.

Notes

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
2
On leave from: Graduate School of Interdisciplinary New Science, Toyo University, 2100 Kujirai, Kawagoe 350-0815, Japan.

Authors

Affiliations

Shigeru Deguchi1 [email protected]
Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan;
Hirokazu Shimoshige2
Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan;
Mikiko Tsudome
Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan;
Sada-atsu Mukai
Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan;
Institute for Advanced Study, Kyushu University, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan;
Robert W. Corkery
Institute for Surface Chemistry, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden; and
Susumu Ito
Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihra, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
Koki Horikoshi
Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan;

Notes

1
To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected].
Author contributions: S.D., H.S., M.T., S.I., and K.H. designed research; S.D., H.S., M.T., and S.M. performed research; S.D., S.M., and R.W.C. analyzed data; and S.D. and R.W.C. wrote the paper.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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    Microbial growth at hyperaccelerations up to 403,627 × g
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    • Vol. 108
    • No. 19
    • pp. 7653-8065

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