Improving Understanding of Microbial Interactions with the Environment


Transporter proteins control the flow of large and small molecules in and out of the cell and are a primary means for organisms to interface with the environment. Transporters affect cellular metabolic capabilities and influence signaling pathways and regulatory networks that are key to the cell’s behavior. DOE researchers have confirmed the efficacy of a high-throughput methodology to rapidly and specifically identify the molecules transported by these proteins. The new technique measures the change in the melting temperature of proteins. Using Rhodopseudomonas palustris as a test case, they found a variety of compounds bound to the transporters studied that were not predicted using standard computational methods. These findings illustrate the potential of this method to expand our ability to predict the response of microbes and cells to environmental changes, such as the utilization of environmental nutrients and the ejection of toxic compounds.


Giuliani, S. E., A. M. Frank, D. M. Corgliano, C. Seifert, L. Hauser, and F. R. Collart. 2011. “Environment Sensing and Response Mediated by ABC Transporters,” BMC Genomics 12(Supplement 1), S8. (DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-12-S1-S8).