2023 19 B1

BIOL446: Comparative Analysis of the Metabolic Potential of Members in the Aquificales Order

By: Maximo Nunez

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. José R. De La Torre

Understanding how bacteria obtain energy is essential because it provides insight into how it has adapted to its environment and how it relates to other bacteria in its order. An important part of understanding how energy is made in those bacteria is knowing what potential metabolic pathways are encoded by the genomes of those organisms and how they relate to electron donors and acceptors available in the environment. Members of the Aquificales, an order of thermophilic, microaerophilic bacteria that are generally found in hydrothermal environments, have a wide range of electron donors and acceptors that they use in their metabolic pathways for energy production. Analyzing the genes associated with which electron donors and acceptors can be used in members of the Aquificales order can give a greater insight into the deep phylogenetic tree of Aquificales. Using online tools available from the Integrated Microbiol Genomes (IMG), I have compared the genomes of six species of Aquificales, focusing on their ability to use different electron acceptors and donors. Three of the strains, Hydrogenivirga caldilitoris ISBSK 3, Hydrogenobacter hydrogenophilus Z-829 and Thermocrinis minervae CR11, belong to the family Aquificaceae, whereas the remaining three, Hydrogenthermus marinus VM1, Persephonella hydrogeniphila 29W and Venenivibrio stagnispumantis CP B.2, belong to the family Hydrogenothermaceae. By comparing the metabolic potential of these strains to their evolutionary relationships, I hope to gain a better understanding of the evolution of energy production in these bacteria.