U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Regulation of Lipid Accumulation in a Photosynthetic Bacterium
Published: March 02, 2015
Posted: June 03, 2015

Lipids serve important functions in living systems, either as structural components of membranes or as a form of carbon storage. Understanding the mechanisms of lipid accumulation in microorganisms is important for providing insight into the assembly of biological membranes and additionally has important applications in the production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) in collaboration with DOE’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) have investigated the ability of Rhodobacter sphaeroides to increase membrane production at low O2 tensions in order to house its photosynthetic apparatus. They found that this bacterium has a mechanism to increase lipid content in response to decreased O2 tension and identified a specific transcription factor necessary for this response. This finding is significant because it identifies a transcriptional regulatory pathway that can increase microbial lipid content and has applications for increasing biofuel production

Reference: Lemmer, K. C., A. C. Dohnalkova, D. R. Noguera, and T. J. Donohue. 2015. “Oxygen Dependent Regulation of Bacterial Lipid Production,” Journal of Bacteriology 197(9), 1649-58. DOI: 10.1128/JB.02510-14. (Reference link)

Contact: Kent Peters, SC-23.2, (301) 903-5549
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: DOE Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

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