Read the actual PNAS paper, Lubner, Applegate et al. 2011
Researchers led by Carolyn Lubner at Penn State worked with a cyanobacterium called Synechococcus and another bacterium, Clostridium acetobutylicum. In nature, photosynthetic organisms use light-capturing enzymes nicknamed Photosystem I and II, which absorb light and excite electrons to a higher energy state. Another enzyme called FNR then uses these electrons to produce an energy-storage molecule. This molecule is used to make sugars to keep the organism alive, and that’s your basic photosynthesis process.
Lubner et al replaced the FNR enzyme with a hydrogenase enzyme, which combines electrons with hydrogen ions to make molecular hydrogen (instead of a sugar-producing system). Then they used this enzyme to stitch together iron-based terminals of a Photosystem I enzyme from each of the bacteria. This stitch served as a molecular wire, easily and quickly transferring electrons. The researchers doped it with vitamin C, which served as the electron feedstock.
The result was a high-throughput hydrogen-producing system — electron flow was more than twice as high as the bacteria’s individual rates, the authors say. It produced hydrogen molecules for several hours, as long as it had vitamin C to use. The system is easily adaptable to other enzyme terminals and other bacteria, the authors say. As such, it could be used to produce a wide range of potential biofuels.”
The application process for the
2012 Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Symposium (IGPS)
is now open! Please go to http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/about/igps.html to learn how to apply.
If you have any questions, please send them to Terri Harris at email@example.com. Monetary prizes will be given to a number of students in various categories.
On Jonathan Eisen’s blog Tree of Life you can find a summary of the meeting between Chancellor Katehi and the College of Biological Sciences.
In a PNAS paper by Phoolcharoena, Dye et. al titled “A nonreplicating subunit vaccine protects mice against lethal Ebola virus challenge” they report that using Ebola glycoproteins coupled antibodies to create Ebola immune complexes (EICs), and coupling these EICs with the Toll-like receptor antagonist polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PIC) resulted in an 80% survival rate of mice infected with a lethal challenge of Ebola virus. This is significant because the biggest challenge to making an effective Ebola vaccine has been cost and long term stability, this research shows immense promise that a synthetic vaccine will be cheaper, and far more stable than deactivated Ebola viruses.