Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science


Lisa Bowers

St. Olaf College
Scavenger - how a starving bacterium takes up scarce nutrients
Caulobacter crescentus is a species of bacteria that lives in water everywhere. It’s well known as a scavenger due to its ability to take up scarce nutrients. It has many adaptations that allow it to thrive in low nutrient environments, including an unusually large group of surface proteins called TonB-dependent receptors (TBDRs) that actively bind and transport nutrients into the cell. Historically, TBDRs were thought to transport only iron complexes and Vitamin B12 but now we know iron and B12 represent just the tip of the iceberg. Recent studies have identified many novel substrates yet most of Caulobacter’s 65 TBDRs are still uncharacterized. What are the other TBDRs doing? We are investigating a subset of TBDRs and are hot on the trail as we test our hypotheses with RNA-sequencing, RT-qPCR,gene knockouts, and growth assays.
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