In concert with the selective pressures affecting protein folding and function in the extreme environments in which they can exist, proteins in Archaea have evolved to present permanent molecular adaptations at the amino acid sequence level. Such adaptations may not, however, suffice when Archaea encounter transient changes in their surroundings. Post-translational modifications offer a rapid and reversible layer of adaptation for proteins to cope with such situations. Here, it is proposed that Archaea further augment their ability to survive changing growth conditions by modifying the extent, position, and, where relevant, the composition of different post-translational modifications, as a function of the environment. Support for this hypothesis comes from recent reports describing how patterns of protein glycosylation, methylation, and other post-translational modifications of archaeal proteins are altered in response to environmental change. Indeed, adjusting post-translational modifications as a means to cope with environmental variability may also hold true beyond the Archaea.
- post-translational modifications
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)