Rock inhabiting fungi are among the most stress tolerant organisms on Earth. They are able to cope with different stressors determined by the typical conditions of bare rocks in hot and cold extreme environments. In this study first results of a system biological approach based on two-dimensional protein profiles are presented. Protein patterns of extremotolerant black fungi - Coniosporium perforans, Exophiala jeanselmei - and of the extremophilic fungus - Friedmanniomyces endolithicus - were compared with the cosmopolitan and mesophilic hyphomycete Penicillium chrysogenum in order to follow and determine changes in the expression pattern under different temperatures. The 2D protein gels indicated a temperature dependent qualitative change in all the tested strains. Whereas the reference strain P. chrysogenum expressed the highest number of proteins at 40 °C, thus exhibiting real signs of temperature induced reaction, black fungi, when exposed to temperatures far above their growth optimum, decreased the number of proteins indicating a down-regulation of their metabolism. Temperature of 1 °C led to an increased number of proteins in all of the analysed strains, with the exception of P. chrysogenum. These first results on temperature dependent reactions in rock inhabiting black fungi indicate a rather different strategy to cope with non-optimal temperature than in the mesophilic hyphomycete P. chrysogenum. © 2012 The British Mycological Society.
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