Home Science An ultra-stable protein nanowire made by electric bacteria provides clues to combating climate change

An ultra-stable protein nanowire made by electric bacteria provides clues to combating climate change

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“Nanowires” produced by Geobacter in response to electric fields applied to biofilms that generate electricity. These nanowires, composed of the cytochrome OmcZ, exhibit 1000 times higher conductivity and 3 times higher stiffness than nanowires of the cytochrome OmcS, which is important in the natural environment, allowing the bacterium to transport electrons 100 times more than its size. toCredit: Sibel Ebru Yalcin. Design: Era Mal Studio

Accelerating climate change is a major and serious threat to life on Earth. Rising temperatures are caused by microorganisms that produce 50% of atmospheric methane, which is 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.2 trap heat. These high temperatures also accelerate microbial growth, produce more greenhouse gases than plants can utilize, and weaken the Earth’s ability to act as a carbon sink, further increasing global temperatures.

A potential solution to this vicious cycle could be another type of microbe that eats up to 80% of the methane flux from the marine sediments that protect our planet. However, they are difficult to study in the laboratory.of natural microbiology, a Yale University team led by Professor Nikhil Malvankar and a former Ph.D. Yangqi Gu, his Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry student at the Microbial Sciences Institute, has discovered the surprising wire-like properties of proteins made by Geobacter that generate electricity. This property is similar to methane-eating microbes.

The Malvankar lab previously reported that this protein wire highest conductivity known to date. It enables bacteria to generate the highest power ever reported, how these bacteria survive without membrane-uptakeable molecules like oxygen, and how electrons are more than 100 times the size of the bacteria. Describes how to form a community that can send However, to this day, no one has discovered how they are made or why they are conductive.

Using high resolution cryoelectron microscopy, the researchers looked at the atomic structure of the nanowires and found that the heme was densely packed to move electrons very fast with very high stability. The team also artificially constructed nanowires to illustrate how bacteria make them on demand.

“We could use these wires to generate electricity, or understand how methane-eating microbes use them to fight. climate changesaid Malbunker.

Other authors are Malvankar Lab members Matthew Guberman-Pfeffer, Vishok Srikant, Cong Shen, Yuri Londer, Fadel Samatey and collaborators Victor Batista, Kallol Gupta, and Fabian Giska.

For more information:
Yangqi Gu, Geobacter cytochrome OmcZ structure identifies mechanism of nanowire assembly and electrical conductivity. natural microbiology (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41564-022-01315-5. www.nature.com/articles/s41564-022-01315-5

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Yale University

Quote: Ultrastable Protein Nanowires Made by Electric Bacteria Offer Clues to Fight Climate Change (2 February 2023) https://phys.org/news/2023-02-ultra-stable- protein-nanowire-electric bacteria.html

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