Eurotium rubrum v1.0
Photo of E. rubrum
Eurothium rubrum - conidiophore with conidia, and ascospores x 500. Photo by Tamar Kis-Papo

The Dead Sea is one of the most saline lakes on earth (≈340 g/liter salinity) and is ≈10 times saltier than the oceans. Only a select few microorganisms are able to survive in this stress caused by unusual high salt concentration and ionic composition. Eurotium rubrum is the most common fungal species isolated from Dead Sea water, from surface to the bottom at the depth of ~300m. E. rubrum's higher salt tolerance is the result of a complicated network of many genes and pathways interacting with each other. A number of genes involved in osmotic stress tolerance have been identified. E. rubrum's MAPK gene [EhHOG] was shown to confer better stress tolerance to yeast. The complete genome sequence will allow the analysis of the structure and mechanism of the fungi stress tolerance. The Genetic resources in the Dead Sea could be potentially harnessed for engineering transgenic organisms with enhanced stress tolerance, thereby advancing saline agriculture. This application is desperately relevant in view of the increasing desertification and salinization of our planet.

Genome Reference(s)