Getting Friendly with Bacteria Fall 2014

Hello everyone, my name is Thermus aquaticus. I am a hyperthermopilic, rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium. I am part of the bacterial phylum Deinococcus-Thermus. We are group of bacteria who have evolved to become highly resistant to environmental hazards such as heat, radiation, cold, and I even have a cousin that can survive the vacuum of space. I live where it tends to be very hot, areas like hot springs and geysers. I can tolerate temperatures ranging from 50-90 degrees Celsius, that 122-176 degrees Fahrenheit! But I love when it’s exactly 70 degrees C. That’s the perfect temperature for me. I know, I’m pretty hot. J I’m a heterotroph and I live with my buddy Cyanobacteria, I pay the rent and he makes the food.

I’m immotile, reproduce asexually like most bacteria and my plasma membrane resembles that of other gram- negatives but I have a special feature within my inner membrane, little rod-like structures called rotund bodies that some people might say look like cells of themselves but I promise you they aren’t.

I know I might seem like your average thermophile but I’m not, there is something very unique about me. Since I’m a hyperthermophile that means that all my enzymes are hypertheromphilic too.  One of my enzymes, taq polymerase is used PCR (polymerase chain reaction), a process that allows DNA to be replicated in vitro within laboratory settings. The reason why they use my polymerase and not any other polymerase is because when you are replicating DNA you have to heat it to very high temperatures in order to unwind it and you couldn’t heat a normal polymerase or it would denature. I’m so awesome for that.

The next time you feel like chilling in a hot spring give me a holla and we can hang..

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