August 21, 2013 by Heather Wiatrowski
I’m pleased to announce that my lab has a paper out in Archives of Microbiology!
Here you can find a link to the paper.
The title of this paper is Identification of a possible respiratory arsenate reductase in Denitrovibrio
acetiphilus, a member of the phylum Deferribacteres.
This body of work began when members of my 2009 First Year Seminar class, Annotation of a Microbial Genome, identified a number of possible complex iron-sulfur molybdoenzymes (CISMs) in the genome of a strain of Denitrovibrio acetiphilus. These enzymes can be used by organisms to “breathe” compounds such as selenate, arsenate, perchlorate, dimethyl sulfoxide, and nitrate. We were working on this genome through the Joint Genome Institute’s Interpret a Genome for Education Program. I’ve had students collaborating with this project ever since, and can’t say enough wonderful things about the program.
Based on our in silico results, we hypothesized that Denitrovibrio acetiphilus would be able to use arsenate, selenate, and dimethyl sulfoxide as terminal electron acceptors. Kyle Denton demonstrated that the organism could grow with these terminal electron acceptors provided, and demonstrated reduction of arsenate to arsenite in growing cultures. He then determined that the gene identified by our first year students as a possible arsenate reductase was induced in the presence of arsenate.
This has really been a fun project to work on, because I’ve been able to see all my students develop. Kyle used this as part of his master’s thesis, and did such a great job writing it that I barely had to bug him for details during the writing process. He’s working on a PhD at the University of Connecticut right now.
It was also a joy to work with the first year students, and engage entering students in “real” research. Many students from my cohort have gone on to do research in other faculty members labs, and I think about half of them are currently in our master’s program.
I’m so proud of everyone involved in this project! Thanks, folks!