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ORNL, UC Berkeley unravel real-world clues to Earth's mysteries

unity proteome' for enzymes and pathways that can help clean up some of the worst environmental sites in the nation. This underscores the value of basic research carried out by the DOE Genomics: Genomes to Life program that can develop novel approaches and solutions to national challenges."

Hettich said their results would not have been possible without the collaboration with UC Berkeley, where Jill Banfield is an expert in natural microbial communities. Banfield, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, has studied this particular acid mine drainage community for several years. Meanwhile, ORNL boasts world-class mass spectrometry instrumentation and its researchers have demonstrated success in obtaining proteome information on simple microbial organisms grown in the laboratory. Working as a team, UC Berkeley and ORNL have struck it rich.

"Through this collaboration, Jill Banfield has been able to take her research up a quantum step by obtaining the first glimpse into the complex proteome dataset of this microbial community," Hettich said. "To do this, it was critical that we bring together researchers with expertise in biology and ecology of microbial communities, analytical technologies and bioinformatics."

Banfield and colleagues at UC Berkeley supplied the bacterial samples and characterized genome information while Hettich and Nathan VerBerkmoes, a post-doctoral student in ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division, performed the mass spectrometry work. Manesh Shah of ORNL's Life Sciences Division was responsible for the informatics related to database searching and data dissemination. The team detected 2,036 proteins from the five most abundant species in the bio-film, including 48 percent of the predicted proteins from the most abundant bio-film organism, Leptosprillum group II.

Researchers noted that this work represents the first large-scale proteomics-level examination of a natural microbial comm
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Source:DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory


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