Analyzing the Structure and Function of Novel Cytochromes from a Natural Microbial Community

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The Richmond mine in Iron Mountain, California, provides an unusual ecosystem suitable for the growth of microbial biofilms which produce many unique proteins. Through iron oxidation, these proteins facilitate acid mine drainage (AMD). Because this habitat is extremely acidic, survival is an extraordinary feat and the process of environmental selection is rare. In order to understand the mechanisms by which these organisms oxidize iron and gain electrons for energy, biochemical studies were applied. More specifically, column chromatography, spectrophotometry, and gel electrophoresis were used to determine the proteins present in different biofilms. Two specific locations of the mine researched were the ... continued below

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PDF-file: 16 pages; size: 1.6 Mbytes

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Siebers, A; Singer, S & Thelen, M August 28, 2006.

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The Richmond mine in Iron Mountain, California, provides an unusual ecosystem suitable for the growth of microbial biofilms which produce many unique proteins. Through iron oxidation, these proteins facilitate acid mine drainage (AMD). Because this habitat is extremely acidic, survival is an extraordinary feat and the process of environmental selection is rare. In order to understand the mechanisms by which these organisms oxidize iron and gain electrons for energy, biochemical studies were applied. More specifically, column chromatography, spectrophotometry, and gel electrophoresis were used to determine the proteins present in different biofilms. Two specific locations of the mine researched were the AB drift and Ultraback C (UBC), which were both found to contain at least five different types of protein and a large amount of heme-bound cytochromes. Another application of these methods was to investigate proteins playing a major role within the community; one protein selected was cytochrome 579 (Cyt{sub 579}) due to its abundance in the biofilm, iron oxidizing potential, and signature absorbance of 579nm. The structure and function of Cyt{sub 579} could be characterized by the isolation of its heme, which was completed using column chromatography; however, one of the challenges has been liberating the heme from the column. Further research, including acid-base and temperature profiling of Cyt{sup 579} should help elucidate its structural changes within alternate environments and metabolism within the community.

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PDF-file: 16 pages; size: 1.6 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: UCRL-TR-224023
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/900122 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 900122
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc882547

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  • August 28, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

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Siebers, A; Singer, S & Thelen, M. Analyzing the Structure and Function of Novel Cytochromes from a Natural Microbial Community, report, August 28, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc882547/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.