Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > The inner workings of a bacterial black box caught on time-lapse video

This figure demonstrates the steps researchers took to visualize carboxysome assembly. The critical genes (ccm operon) is deleted, which leads to a generation of cyanobacteria with no carboxysomes. These bacteria require high CO2 levels to survive. When the missing genes were introduced, researchers were able to watch rarely seen intermediate steps of carboxysome assembly.

Credit: Elsevier
This figure demonstrates the steps researchers took to visualize carboxysome assembly. The critical genes (ccm operon) is deleted, which leads to a generation of cyanobacteria with no carboxysomes. These bacteria require high CO2 levels to survive. When the missing genes were introduced, researchers were able to watch rarely seen intermediate steps of carboxysome assembly.

Credit: Elsevier

Abstract:
Cyanobacteria, found in just about every ecosystem on Earth, are one of the few bacteria that can create their own energy through photosynthesis and "fix" carbon - from carbon dioxide molecules - and convert it into fuel inside of miniscule compartments called carboxysomes. Using a pioneering visualization method, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) made what are, in effect, movies of this complex and vital cellular machinery being assembled inside living cells. They observed that bacteria build these internal compartments in a way never seen in plant, animal and other eukaryotic cells.



Movie: After "turning on" the critical genes, the cyanobacteria began to construct carboxysomes out of fluorescent-tagged materials. The video is composed of still-images taken every three minutes, starting two hours after genes were induced.

Credit: Jeffrey Cameron and Cheryl Kerfeld.

The inner workings of a bacterial black box caught on time-lapse video

Walnut Creek, CA | Posted on November 25th, 2013

"The carboxysome, unlike eukaryotic organelles, assembles from the inside out," said senior author Cheryl Kerfeld, formerly of the DOE JGI, now at Michigan State University and UC Berkeley. The findings, published November 21, 2013 in the journal Cell, will illuminate bacterial physiology and may also influence nanotechnology development.

Although cyanobacteria are often called blue-green algae, that name is a misnomer since algae have complex membrane-bound compartments called organelles -- including chloroplasts -- which carry out photosynthesis, while cyanobacteria, like all other bacteria, lack membrane-bound organelles. Much of their cellular machinery - including their DNA - floats in the cell's cytoplasm unconstrained by membranes. However, they do have rudimentary microcompartments where some specialized tasks happen.

Looking a lot like the multi-faceted envelopes of viruses, carboxysomes are icosahedral, having about 20 triangle-shaped sides or facets. They contain copious amounts of Ribulose 1,5 Biphosphate Carboxylase Oxygenase (commonly called RuBisCo), an extremely abundant but slow enzyme required to fix carbon, inside their protein shells. The microcompartment also helps concentrate carbon dioxide and corral it near RuBisCo, while locking out oxygen, which otherwise tends to inhibit the chemical reactions involved in carbon-fixation.

Because they are so abundant, cyanobacteria play a major role in the earth's carbon cycle, the movement of carbon between the air, sea and land. "A significant fraction of global carbon fixation takes place in carboxysomes," said Kerfeld. Cyanobacteria, along with plants, impact climate change by lowering the amount of carbon from the atmosphere and depositing it in organic matter in the ocean and on land.

In order to track carboxysome assembly, the first author, Jeffrey Cameron, developed what Kerfeld called "an inducible system to turn on carboxysome biogenesis." He first developed mutant strains of a Synechococcus cyanobacterium that had its genes for building carboxysomes intentionally broken and then introduced the products of each of the knocked-out genes, which had been tagged with a fluorescent marker. He captured time-lapse digital images of the bacteria - a technique called time-lapse microscopy -- as they used the glowing building blocks and incorporated them into their new carboxysomes. The research team also painstakingly took high resolution still photographs using a transmission electron microscope of the intermediate stages of carboxysome construction. With these detailed images, they were able to provide a specific role for each product of each knocked-out gene, along with a timeline for how the bacteria built its carboxysomes. The team also suggested that other bacteria might build different types of microcompartments the same way carboxysomes are built, from the inside out.

It's the first time scientists have been able to watch bacterial organelles as they are built by living cells. Kerfeld noted that not only is the filming technique a major advance over previous methods, but that there are far-reaching implications for this work.

"The results provide clues to the organization of the enzymes encapsulated in the carboxysome and how this enhances CO2 fixation," said Kerfeld. Moreover, not only do the findings help researchers better understand how this previously mysterious compartment works, they can adapt what Kerfeld's team has learned about carboxysome architecture and apply it to designing synthetic nano-scale reactors. Understanding carbon-fixation in cyanobacteria contributes to our understanding of how this ubiquitous organism affects the global carbon cycle.

####

About DOE/Joint Genome Institute
The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, supported by the DOE Office of Science, is committed to advancing genomics in support of DOE missions related to clean energy generation and environmental characterization and cleanup. DOE JGI, headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., provides integrated high-throughput sequencing and computational analysis that enable systems-based scientific approaches to these challenges. Follow @doe_jgi on Twitter.

DOE's Office of Science is the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Gilbert

925-296-5643

Copyright © DOE/Joint Genome Institute

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Laboratories

Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014

News and information

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Videos/Movies

Ucore's McKenzie to Deliver Presentation to Rare Earths Conference in Singapore as Highlight of Fall 2014 Marketplace Schedule October 19th, 2014

Australian teams set new records for silicon quantum computing October 12th, 2014

Nanoparticles get a magnetic handle: New method produces particles that can glow with color-coded light and be manipulated with magnets October 9th, 2014

NIST quantum probe enhances electric field measurements October 8th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014

Bipolar Disorder Discovery at the Nano Level: Tiny structures found in brain synapses help scientists better understand disorder October 22nd, 2014

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014

Super stable garnet ceramics may be ideal for high-energy lithium batteries October 21st, 2014

Discoveries

Bipolar Disorder Discovery at the Nano Level: Tiny structures found in brain synapses help scientists better understand disorder October 22nd, 2014

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Announcements

NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals

Bipolar Disorder Discovery at the Nano Level: Tiny structures found in brain synapses help scientists better understand disorder October 22nd, 2014

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014

Journal Nanotechnology Progress International (JONPI), 2014, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 1-24 October 22nd, 2014

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

Environment

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms October 18th, 2014

New Nanocomposites Help Elimination of Toxic Dyes October 15th, 2014

Energy

Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014

Could I squeeze by you? Ames Laboratory scientists model molecular movement within narrow channels of mesoporous nanoparticles October 21st, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways October 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014

‘Designer’ nanodevice could improve treatment options for cancer sufferers October 22nd, 2014

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

Scientists Map Key Moment in Assembly of DNA-Splitting Molecular Machine: Crucial steps and surprising structures revealed in the genesis of the enzyme that divides the DNA double helix during cell replication October 15th, 2014

Research partnerships

Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014

Detecting Cancer Earlier is Goal of Rutgers-Developed Medical Imaging Technology: Rare earth nanocrystals and infrared light can reveal small cancerous tumors and cardiovascular lesions October 21st, 2014

Nitrogen Doped Graphene Characterized by Iranian, Russian, German Scientists October 21st, 2014

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE