MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF ACETATE CONVERSION TO METHANE

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

The conversion of complex organic matter to methane is an important
component of the global carbon cycle. The process occurs in a variety of
anaerobic environments; for example: (i) the lower intestine of humans,
(ii) sewage treatment plants, and (iii) the sediments of lakes, streams and
rivers. Thus, biological methanogenesis impacts the environment and human
health in several ways. For example, methane is a major "greenhouse" gas.
on the other hand, the process of methanogenesis is used to treat
industrial and domestic wastes including toxic compounds. Methanogenic
organisms are archaebacteria which are different from eubacteria and
eukaryotes at the most elemental level. Thus, an understanding of these
unusual organisms requires a study of fundamental cellular processes. The
current understanding of methanogenic archaebacteria is largely at the
level of microbiology and biochemistry; less is known concerning the
regulation of gene expression. Here, we propose a molecular genetic
approach to investigate gene expression in the pathway of acetate
conversion to methane which is tightly regulated in response to the growth
substrate. The results are expected to extend the current view of
methanogenesis to include principles of gene expression. The results are
also expected to compliment on-going biochemical studies on the pathway in
Methanosarcina thermophila. The long-term goal is to utilize in vivo
molecular approaches to study (i) fundamental principles of transcription
in the archaebacteria, and (ii) the mechanism of enzymes in the
acetate-to-methane pathway. The research proposed here, together with
parallel research to characterize mutants and develop a transformation
system, will lay the foundation for these long-term goals.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2/1/921/31/93

Funding

  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

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