Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Taming electrons with bacteria parts


Electrons power the production of fuel and medicine. Electron movement is behind photosynthesis, our main source of food and combustion. Moving electrons are the definition of an electric current, which is why you can read this story.

In a new study, scientists at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory report a new synthetic system that could guide electron transfer over long distances. The new system is made up of two components plucked from nature. One is a protein from bacteria and the other a molecule found in our blood.

Nature has figured out how to tame electrons. The trick is to split up their journeys into short pit stops that are easier to manage. Electrons then hop between stops as they are guided towards some final destination.


One of these natural pit stops is the heme, a molecule that contains iron. It is what gives our blood its color and it is found in many other biological molecules.

See:

Jingcheng Huang, Bryan H. Ferlez, Eric J. Young, Cheryl A. Kerfeld, David M. Kramer, Daniel C. Ducat. Functionalization of Bacterial Microcompartment Shell Proteins With Covalently Attached Heme. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 2020; 7 DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00432

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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