Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments

Genome-scale Metabolic Modelling Of Extremophiles And Its Applications In Astrobiological Environments

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
Environmental Microbiology Reports
February 26, 2024
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Genome-scale Metabolic Modelling Of Extremophiles And Its Applications In Astrobiological Environments
A high-temperature hydrothermal vent field discovered on Puy des Folles Seamount on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at approximately 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) in depth, during the In Search of Hydrothermal Lost Cities expedition. Image courtesy of Schmidt Ocean Institute.

Metabolic modelling approaches have become the powerful tools in modern biology. These mathematical models are widely used to predict metabolic phenotypes of the organisms or communities of interest, and to identify metabolic targets in metabolic engineering.

Apart from a broad range of industrial applications, the possibility of using metabolic modelling in the contexts of astrobiology are poorly explored. In this mini-review, we consolidated the concepts and related applications of applying metabolic modelling in studying organisms in space-related environments, specifically the extremophilic microbes.

We recapitulated the current state of the art in metabolic modelling approaches and their advantages in the astrobiological context. Our review encompassed the applications of metabolic modelling in the theoretical investigation of the origin of life within prebiotic environments, as well as the compilation of existing uses of genome-scale metabolic models of extremophiles.

Furthermore, we emphasize the current challenges associated with applying this technique in extreme environments, and conclude this review by discussing the potential implementation of metabolic models to explore theoretically optimal metabolic networks under various space conditions.

Through this mini-review, our aim is to highlight the potential of metabolic modelling in advancing the study of astrobiology.

Genome-scale metabolic modelling of extremophiles and its applications in astrobiological environments, Environmental Microbiology Reports (open access)

Environmental Microbiology Reports ( IF 3.3 ) Pub Date: 2024-01-09 , DOI:10.1111/1758-2229.13231
Nuttapol Noirungsee, Sakunthip Changkhong, Kittiya Phinyo, Chutipong Suwannajak, Nahathai Tanakul, Sahutchai Inwongwan


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻