Time to celebrate! This is a bit overdue, as I’ve been bogged down with grading and preparing for the American Society for Microbiology meeting, but on May 9th, 2014 Tyler Robison defended his Masters Thesis. Tyler’s work centered around mercury-dependent changes to thioredoxin in Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA. The assay he used is called a protein electrophoretic mobility shift assay (PEMSA), and prior to Yingjiao Wang and Tyler starting this project, nobody had ever performed this assay in bacteria. Below, he’s standing in front of one of his PEMSA thioredoxin western blots.
When treated with Hg(II), Tyler observed oxidation of thioredoxin. This work has already been published in the journal Biometals. He added glutathione to his cultures, which prevented oxidation of thioredoxin. You would think this would also make the cells more resistant to Hg(II), but surprisingly it does not.
Congratulations, Tyler, and best wishes on all your future endeavors!