Navigation Links
Bacterium sequenced makes rare form of chlorophyll
Date:2/4/2008

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Arizona State University have sequenced the genome of a rare bacterium that harvests light energy by making an even rarer form of chlorophyll, chlorophyll d. Chlorophyll d absorbs red edge, near infrared, long wave length light, invisible to the naked eye.

In so doing, the cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina, competes with virtually no other plant or bacterium in the world for sunlight. As a result, its genome is massive for a cyanobacterium, comprising 8.3 million base pairs, and sophisticated. The genome is among the very largest of 55 cyanobacterial strains in the world sequenced thus far, and it is the first chlorophyll d containing organism to be sequenced .

Robert Blankenship. Ph.D., Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, and principal investigator of the project, said with every gene of Acaryochloris marina now sequenced and annotated, the immediate goal is to find the enzyme that causes a chemical structure change in chlorophyll d, making it different from primarily chlorophyll a, and b, but also from about nine other forms of chlorophyll.

The synthesis of chlorophyll by an organism is complex, involving 17 different steps in all, Blankenship said. Some place near the end of this process an enzyme transforms a vinyl group to a formyl group to make chlorophyll d. This transformation of chemical forms is not known in any other chlorophyll molecules.

Blankenship said he and his collaborators have some candidate genes they will test. They hope to insert these genes into an organism that makes just chlorophyll a. If the organism learns to synthesize chlorophyll d with one of the genes, the mystery of chlorophyll d synthesis will be solved, and then the excitement will begin.

Blankenship and his colleagues from both institutions published a paper on their work in the Feb. 4, online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and also involved collaborators from Australia and Japan. Three Washington University undergraduate students and one graduate student participated in the project, as well as other research personnel.

Harvesting solar power through plants or other organisms that would be genetically altered with the chlorophyll d gene could make them solar power factories that generate and store solar energy. Consider a seven-foot tall corn plant genetically tailored with the chlorophyll d gene to be expressed at the very base of the stalk. While the rest of the plant synthesized chlorophyll a, absorbing short wave light, the base is absorbing red edge light in the 710 nanometer range. Energy could be stored in the base without competing with any other part of the plant for photosynthesis, as the rest only makes chlorophyll a. Also, the altered corn using the chlorophyll d gene could become a super plant because of its enhanced ability to harness energy from the sun.

That model is similar to how Acaryochloris marina actually operates in the South Pacific, specifically Australias Great Barrier Reef. Discovered just 11 years ago, the cyanobacterium lives in a symbiotic relationship with a sponge-like marine animal popularly called a sea squirt . The Acaryochloris marina lives beneath the sea squirt, which is a marine animal that lives attached to rocks just below the surface of the water. The cyanobacterium absorbs red edge light through the tissues of its pal the sea squirt.

The genome, said Blankenship, is fat and happy. Acaryochloris marina lies down there using that far red light that no one else can use. The organism has never been under very strong selection pressure to be lean and mean like other bacteria are. Its kind of in a sweet spot. Living in this environment is what allowed it to have such dramatic genome expansion.

Blankenship said that once the gene that causes the late-step chemical transformation is found and inserted successfully into other plants or organisms, that it could potentially represent a five percent increase in available light for organisms to use.

We now have genetic information on a unique organism that makes this type of pigment that no other organism does, Blankenship said. We dont know what all the genes do by any means. But weve just begun the analysis. When we find the chlorophyll d enzyme and then look into transferring it into other organisms, well be working to extend the range of potentially useful photosynthesis radiation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Blankenship
blankenship@wustl.edu
314-935-7971
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New drug makes weight loss safer
2. How mother of thousands makes plantlets
3. For honey bee queens, multiple mating makes a difference
4. Scientists spy enzyme that makes us unique
5. Thinking makes it so: Science extends reach of prosthetic arms
6. Choosing dry or wet food for cats makes little difference
7. Technique controls nanoparticle size, makes large numbers
8. Decoy makes sitting duck of superbugs
9. Case researcher in RNA biology makes waves by challenging current thinking
10. New process makes nanofibers in complex shapes and unlimited lengths
11. Diabetes makes it hard for blood vessels to relax
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/21/2016)... 2016   Neurotechnology , a provider of ... announced that the MegaMatcher On Card fingerprint matching ... the NIST Minutiae Interoperability Exchange (MINEX) III ... steps of the evaluation protocol. ... of fingerprint templates used to establish compliance of ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... CLARA, Calif. , Nov. 16, 2016 ... enhancing user experience and security for consumer electronics, ... for the financial and retail industry, today announced ... secure and convenient way to authenticate users of ... uses Sensory,s TrulySecure™ software which requires ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... , Nov. 14, 2016  Based ... identification market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes FST ... Sullivan Award for Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST ... the biometric identification market by pioneering In ... solution for instant, seamless, and non-invasive verification. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Eurofins announces the appointment ... and President of Eurofins Scientific Inc. (ESI). Mr. ... his proven professional and entrepreneurial experience in leading international business teams. ... US food testing market to uphold Eurofins, status as the global ... ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Oxford Gene Technology ... Palette an anpassbaren SureSeq™ NGS-Panels mit dem Start ... ein schnelles und kostengünstiges Studium der Varianten bei ... Erkennung von Einzel-Nukleotid-Variationen (Single Nucleotide Variation, SNV) und ... Panel und ermöglicht eine individuelle Anpassung durch die ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... KBioBox llc announced today the launch of ... a sophisticated “3 click” gene dditing off target analysis program and a “3 ... https://www.kbiobox.com/ and powered by the company’s proprietary BioEngine. Scientists, pharmaceutical researchers ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... This CAST ... approvals for biotech crops. The authors focus on the economic effects in countries that ... approval of new biotech crops and the resultant risk of low level presence (LLP) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: