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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2019  

  Abstract:  The novel amino acid derivative ectoine was discovered in 1985 as a minor compatible solute in the bacterial genus Ectothiorhodospira (Galinski et al., 1985). It has since been detected in an ever-growing number of bacterial species (to date more than 400) and a few archaeal genera (Widderich et al., 2016), but also in some eukaryotic protists (Harding et al., 2016). Due to its apparently unique stabilizing and protecting properties, ectoine has found numerous applications as a medical product in the skin and health care sector and is at present produced industrially with the halophilic Halomonas elongate at several tons per year (Kunte et al., 2014). This presentation recalls the story of ectoine from an exotic find to a sought-after natural product and the people involved in its success. We will see what molecular features make this molecule special in its interaction with proteins, DNA and membranes and address potential medical applications. In this context I will also include the latest discoveries, which will provide new insights into ectoine┬┤s novel molecular functions.

Keywords: compatible solute, ectoine, medical device, molecular interaction
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