Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have charted a significant signaling network in a tiny organism that's big in the world of biofuels research. The findings about how a remarkably fast-growing organism conducts its metabolic business bolster scientists' ability to create biofuels using the hardy microbe Synechococcus, which turns sunlight into useful energy.
The team glimpsed key chemical events, known as redox reactions, inside living cells of the organism by using a chemical probe they developed that allows live-cell labeling. They also developed an in vivo labeling and imaging strategy to identify proteins undergoing these reactions in the photoautotrophic cyanobacterium. Their publication in ACS Chemical Biology marks the first time that redox activity, a very fast regulatory network involved in all major aspects of a cell's operation, has been observed in specific proteins within living cells. See more in the PNNL news release.
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More information: Sadler NC, MR Melnicki, M Serres, ED Merkley, WB Chrisler, EA Hill, MF Romine, S Kim, EM Zink, S Datta, RD Smith, AS Beliaev, A Konopka, and AT Wright. 2014. "Chemical Profiling of Live Cell Temporal Redox Dynamics in a Photoautotrophic Cyanobacterium." ACS Chemical Biology 9(1). DOI: 10.1021/cb400769v.