Microbial metal and radionuclide reduction is central to a wide variety of processes, including biogeochemical metal cycling, hazardous organic matter degradation, and electricity generation in microbial fuel cells. Despite the potential benefit as alternative strategies for energy generation and radionuclide remediation, the molecular mechanism of microbial metal and radionuclide reduction remains poorly understood. Bacteria such as Shewanella oneidensis employ a number of respiratory strategies to overcome the challenges of being required to respire anaerobically on metal oxides. Researchers have found a unique, conserved cysteine-X-X- cysteine motif (CXXC, where X is any amino acid) in the N-terminus of transmembrane β-barrel protein MtrB is required for metal reduction by S. oneidensis. This project aims to understand the role of the S. oneidensis MtrB in promoting anaerobic metal reduction activity.
Proposer’s Name: Thomas DiChristina