Name: Sienna Carr
Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Minor: Environmental Studies
Advisors: Dr. Dean Fraga, Dr. Erszébet Regan (second reader)
Myxococcus xanthusis a well studied bacterial species in the myxobacteria family as it has several unique features such as its two different motility systems and an ability to form multicellular fruiting bodies under low nutrient conditions. It releases secondary metabolites with rare structural elements that pique the interest of the pharmaceutical industry. These cellular elements of M. xanthusare highly dependent upon its metabolic profile. M. xanthusprey upon small insoluble organic substances such as amino acids and phosphates which enter the Embden-Meyerhof pathway for gluconeogenesis. An essential enzyme in this pathway is triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) that catalyzes the interconversion of dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate (G3P). This enzyme is seen in both glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, but only gluconeogenic activity is seen in M. xanthus. Considering the importance of this enzyme in the gluconeogenic pathway, it can be assumed that this enzyme is essential to many of the physiological functions inM. xanthus that are dependent upon products of gluconeogenesis.
It was predicted that essential metabolic pathways in the cell would be disrupted and phenotypic variations in chemotactic abilities, fruiting body formation, and coloration would be observed since they involve polysaccharide slime formation and release of secondary metabolites. Qualitative data observing chemotaxis and fruiting body formation showed some minor phenotypic differences. This finding suggests that TPI disrupts the formation of the sugar products of the gluconeogenic pathway that are needed for chemotactic extension and fruiting body formation.
Sienna will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST: 9-11am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)