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Hunting Hyperthermophiles and Their Viruses: From the Great Depths to the Laboratory

Hunting Hyperthermophiles and Their Viruses: From the Great Depths to the Laboratory

Chapter:
(p.51) 2 Hunting Hyperthermophiles and Their Viruses: From the Great Depths to the Laboratory
Source:
Microbes from Hell
Author(s):
Patrick Forterre, Teresa Lavender Fagan
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226265964.003.0003

This more personal chapter starts describing how the author discovered the work of Carl Woese on archaea and why he decided to work on hyperthermophiles. Important differences between eukaryotes and prokaryotes are discussed, such as the presence of a DNA gyrase in bacteria and split genes in eukaryotes, explaining the author personal view of their evolutionary relationship. The discovery of a unique enzyme only present in thermophiles, reverse gyrase is described. This is followed by a lengthy and vivid recollection by Evelyne Marguet, author’s wife and co-worker, of her trip in the submarine Nautile to collect samples from 2600 meters deep hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean. Methods to isolate and cultivate microbes from hell are described. The third part of the chapter presents various members of the author laboratories and discusses the result obtained with samples collected by Evelyne Marguet. The author emphasises the discovery of extracellular membrane vesicles produced by anaerobes of the order Thermococcales and the work done on archaeal viruses in collaboration with David Prangishvili at the Institut Pasteur. The author briefly describes the concept of virocell that he proposed to better describe the nature of viruses.

Keywords:   DNA gyrase, reverse gyrase, split gene, hydrothermal vent, anaerobes, Thermococcales, David Prangishvili, virocell

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