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Overview

This thesis presents the use of a marine bacterial protein, proteorhodopsin, as a novel tool for the study of cellular energy fluxes and metabolism. Proteorhodopsin (PR) enables cells to harvest solar energy and store this energy directly as proton motive force (pmf). The cell uses its pmf for myriad metabolic tasks, such as nutrient uptake, osmotic balance, ATP production and motility. Therefore, PR will be a valuable tool which allows scientists to directly probe the effect of pmf on processes such as flagellar...
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Overview

This thesis presents the use of a marine bacterial protein, proteorhodopsin, as a novel tool for the study of cellular energy fluxes and metabolism. Proteorhodopsin (PR) enables cells to harvest solar energy and store this energy directly as proton motive force (pmf). The cell uses its pmf for myriad metabolic tasks, such as nutrient uptake, osmotic balance, ATP production and motility. Therefore, PR will be a valuable tool which allows scientists to directly probe the effect of pmf on processes such as flagellar motor assembly, secretion and glucose uptake. In addition, just as ocean bacteria appear to use PR to supplement their energy stores in lean times, we will use PR to increase the efficiency of ATP-limited processes, such as anaerobic ethanol production. We discovered several important properties of PR. Proteorhodopsin can produce a maximum pmf of 200mV which is tunable with light intensity. Proteorhodopsin's activity in bacteria can be modeled as a simple electronic circuit, giving us some simple intuition about the interplay of respiration, PR, and molecular machines which use the pmf. The maximum pmf produced by PR is similar to the bacterial pmf produced by respiration, suggesting that PR is used as a "backup generator" in case of low oxygen or low nutrient conditions. In addition, PR can be used to control the motility of swimming E. coli and to create dynamic, reversible, millimeter-scale patterns on the time scale of minutes. In addition, PR is expressed in S. cerevisiae, resulting in the first strain of light-harvesting S. cerevisiae. Proteorhodopsin induces the formation of "karmellae" in S. cerevisiae endoplasmic reticulum, a first step toward the creation of light-harvesting organelles. Proteorhodopsin also increases the efficiency of ethanol production by yeast under certain conditions. These experiments are just the beginning of a more quantitative, active understanding of metabolism and molecular machines which use the pmf.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243552907
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 100
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.21 (d)

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