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

BER Research Highlights


Novel Insights into Bacterial Radiation Resistance Developed from DOE Microbial Genome Program
Published: February 21, 2005
Posted: March 29, 2005

In a paper that has been accepted for publication in next month's FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Michael Daly of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and colleagues (including scientists from Howard University, NIH, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and the University of Minnesota) develop the concept that radiation resistant microbes such as Deinococcus radiodurans (capable of resisting doses up to 2000 times what is lethal for humans) is not due to unusual or extra genes that less resistant bacteria lack, but rather that due to regulatory alterations that permit them to use their repair mechanisms much more efficiently. A characteristic observed in radiation resistant bacteria is the accumulation of high levels of intracellular Manganese (Mn) ions and the relative dearth of Iron (Fe); just the opposite is seen in bacteria that are sensitive to radiation. Mn is known to suppress the formation of oxygen radicals while Fe tends to promote their formation, suggesting a link between radical formation (consequent to normal cell metabolism) and DNA damage. This may lead to the identification of ways to increase radiation resistance by adjusting Mn/Fe ratios in cells prior to radiation exposures.

Contact: Dan Drell, SC-72, (301) 903-4742
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Legacy: Low Dose Radiation, Radiobiology

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
      (formerly SC-72 Life Sciences Division, OBER)

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)