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

BER Research Highlights


Key Genes for Biosynthesis of Hydrocarbon Biofuels Identified in Bacterium Micrococcus luteus
Published: July 29, 2010
Posted: October 01, 2010

JBEI researchers have elucidated the genes and a proposed biochemical pathway for the production of long-chain alkenes - key chemical components of petroleum-based gasoline and diesel fuels - in the bacterium Micrococcus luteus. Building on insights from microbial alkene research reported 4 decades ago, JBEI researchers hypothesized that a key mechanism for long-chain alkene biosynthesis would involve decarboxylation and condensation of fatty acids. By searching the genome of the alkene-producing bacterium M. luteus, researchers found three candidate genes with conserved sequences associated with condensing enzymes. Expression of these genes in E. coli resulted in long-chain alkene production, but additional research will be needed to reveal the specific biochemical role that each of the enzymes encoded by these genes plays in alkene synthesis. A wide range of bacteria has been found to contain genes similar to those that encode M. luteus alkene biosynthesis enzymes, so researchers will have an opportunity to learn more about these enzymes by exploring their diversity in nature.

Reference: This research was reported in Beller, H. R., E. B. Goh, and J. D. Keasling. 2010. "Genes Involved in Long-Chain Alkene BioBiosynthesis in Micrococcus luteus," Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(4), 1212-23.

Contact: John Houghton, SC-23.2, (301) 903-8288
Topic Areas:

  • 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

 

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

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)