The homeostasis of extremophiles is one that is a diamond hidden in the rough. The way extremophiles adapt to their extreme environments gives a clue into the true extent of what is possible when it comes to life. The discovery of new extremophiles is ever-expanding and an explosion of knowledge surrounding their successful existence in extreme environments is obviously perceived in scientific literature. The present review paper aims to provide a comprehensive view on the different mechanisms governing the extreme adaptations of extremophiles, along with insights and discussions on what the limits of life can possibly be. The membrane adaptations that are vital for survival are discussed in detail. It was found that there are many alterations in the genetic makeup of such extremophiles when compared to their mesophilic counterparts. Apart from the several proteins involved, the significance of chaperones, efflux systems, DNA repair proteins and a host of other enzymes that adapt to maintain functionality, are enlisted, and explained. A deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms could have a plethora of applications in the industry. There are cases when certain microbes can withstand extreme doses of antibiotics. Such microbes accumulate numerous genetic elements (or plasmids) that possess genes for multiple drug resistance (MDR). A deeper understanding of such mechanisms helps in the development of potential approaches and therapeutic schemes for treating pathogen-mediated outbreaks. An in-depth analysis of the parameters – radiation, pressure, temperature, pH value and metal resistance – are discussed in this review, and the key to survival in these precarious niches is described.
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