Piezophilic adaptation: a genomic point of view

Francesca Simonato*, Stefano Campanaro, Federico M. Lauro, Alessandro Vezzi, Michela D'Angelo, Nicola Vitulo, Giorgio Valle, Douglas H. Bartlett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Two-thirds of Earth's surface is covered by oceans, yet the study of this massive integrated living system is still in its infancy. Various environmental variables, such as high salinity, low and changeable nutrient availability and depth-correlated gradients of light, temperature, nutrients and pressure shape the diversity, physiology and ecology of marine species. As oceans present an average depth of 3800 m, deep-sea ecosystems represent the most common marine ecological niche. One of the key environment variables that influences the life and evolution of deep-sea organisms is high pressure. This extreme widespread condition requires specific adaptations, the nature of which remains largely unknown. Recent advances in genomic approaches, such as in sequencing technologies and global expression profiling, are rapidly increasing the data available to understand microbial evolution, biochemistry, physiology and diversity. This review summarises the analysis of the results published so far about microbial high pressure adaptation from a genomic point of view. Understanding high pressure adaptation mechanisms is not just a scientific exercise but has important biotechnological implications. For example, hydrostatic pressure is a reality for food science and technology, both for food preparation and preservation. An understanding of the effects of pressure on biomolecules will expand its use in the medical, industrial and biotechnological fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-25
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Barophile
  • Deep-sea
  • High pressure
  • Photobacterium profundum
  • Piezophile


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