Functional genomics analysis of metal mobilization by the extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon Metallosphaera sedula

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Title: Functional genomics analysis of metal mobilization by the extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon Metallosphaera sedula
Author: Auernik, Kathryne Sherlock
Advisors: Jason M. Haugh, Committee Member
David F. Ollis, Committee Member
Amy M. Grunden, Committee Member
Robert M. Kelly, Committee Chair
Abstract: AUERNIK, KATHRYNE SHERLOCK. Functional genomics analysis of metal mobilization by the extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon Metallosphaera sedula. (Under the direction of Dr. Robert Kelly.) Biomining processes recovering base, strategic and precious metals have predominantly utilized mesophilic bacteria, but relatively low yields have impacted wider application of this biotechnology. However, the use of high temperature microorganisms offers great potential to increase metal mobilization rates. Metallosphaera sedula (Mse) is an extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon with bioleaching capabilities, although little is known about the physiology of this microorganism. To better characterize Mse, its genome was sequenced and a whole genome oligonucleotide microarray was constructed for transcriptional response analysis. The physiological and bioenergetic complexities of Mse bioleaching were studied focusing on iron oxidation, sulfur oxidation, and growth modes (heterotrophy, autotrophy, and mixotrophy). The transcriptomes corresponding to each of these elements were examined for clues to the mechanisms by which Mse oxidizes inorganic energy sources (i.e. metal sulfides) and fixes CO2. Quinol/terminal oxidases important for maintaining intracellular pH and contributing to ATP generation via proton pumping were stimulated by different energy sources. The soxABCDD’L genome locus (Msed_0285-Msed_0291) was stimulated in the presence of reduced inorganic sulfur compounds (RISCs) and H2, while the soxNL-CbsABA cluster (Msed_0500-Msed_0504) was induced by Fe(II). Two similar copies of the SoxB/CoxI-like cytochrome oxidase subunit, foxAA’ (Msed_0484/Msed_0485) were implicated in fox cluster oxidation of Fe(II), as well as other energy sources. The doxBCE locus (Msed_2030-Msed2032) did not respond uniformly to either Fe(II) or RISCs, but was up-regulated in the presence of chalcopyrite (CuFeS2). A similar response was also observed for a putative rusticyanin (Msed_0966, rus), thiosulfate: quinone oxidoreductase (Msed_0363/Msed_0364, doxDA), and a putative sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (Msed_1039, sqr), all three of which are candidates to serve as primary electron acceptors from inorganic substrates. Putative proteins implicated in the generation of reducing equivalents were identified (Dms/Sre-like reductase and Hdr-like reductases). Mixotrophy in Mse was defined as a strong preference for organic carbon combined with concomitant use of multiple inorganic (and organic) energy sources, if available. This growth mode was observed during CuFeS2 bioleaching, with organic carbon most likely obtained via recycling of lysed cell material.
Date: 2010-04-20
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Chemical Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/6161


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