Molecular Strategies of Creatures to Survive in Acidic Environments: Invitation to the Acidic World
Creatures often suffer changes in conditions of their surroundings from the womb to the tomb through the climate alterations and their own movements, and may have various strategies in place to overcome such environmental changes. Among the conditions they encounter, the pH of environments surrounding creatures varies dramatically during lifespans, especially in microorganisms. In humans, the skin covering the body prevents acidification inside the body, and cells are surrounded by body fluid whose pH is kept at 7.4. Nevertheless, pH surrounding cells is often acidified, especially diseased areas, such as cancer nests, inflammatory loci, and infarction areas. Life sciences at the molecular level have been focused on studies in near neutral pH conditions because neutral pH is favourable for many creatures. For a deeper understanding of life, it is essential to clarify molecular mechanisms of how organisms and cells keep their activities when their surroundings are acidified, in the “acidic world”.
This book summarises the current achievements concerning how cellular functions are kept in acidic environments for a wide range of living organisms, from bacteria to humans. Research results obtained to date allow the prediction that all creatures have different sets of genes and use them under different pH conditions. However, we only know little about the “acidic world”, and a huge number of uncovered questions are waiting to be resolved. Their elucidation would help to open up a new way of understanding life.
Hiroshi Kobayashi received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Tokyo in 1974. After postdoctoral training at Colorado University Medical Center from 1976 to 1977, he studied the adaptation strategies of microorganisms to acidic environments at Chiba University, Japan, as an Associate Professor in 1978-1996. He also studied Genetics at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry as a Visiting Researcher in 1985-1986. After being appointed as a Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Chiba University in 1996, his research focused on mammalian cell functions under acidic conditions and anti-cancer chemotherapy in acidified nests. After his retirement in 2012, he currently serves as Professor Emeritus at Chiba University, and is Associate Editor of International Immunopharmacology.
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