2023 20 B1

BIOL446: Determining the Metabolic Pathway Utilized by Persephonella hydrogeniphila

By: Noah Michael Aquino

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. José R. De La Torre

All organisms produce energy using biochemical pathways that couple the oxidation of an electron donor, a reduced compound that is the source of energy, with the reduction of an oxidized electron acceptor. In the case of humans, we oxidize reduced carbon compounds (e.g., glucose) using oxygen (O2) as our electron acceptor. In contrast to humans, microorganisms are capable of using a vast combination of different electron donors and acceptors, greatly expanding the range of environments in which they are capable of living. Persephonella hydrogeniphila, a member of the bacterial class of Aquificales, is a hyperthermophilic bacterium cultivated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent known to drive energy from aerobic oxidation of hydrogen gas. However, other members of the Aquificales are capable of utilizing other electron donors and acceptors. In the project, we hope to determine whether Persephonella can use alternate forms of energy production. To do so, we will use genomic tools from the Integrated Microbial Genomes database to compare enzymes and biochemical pathways in other Aquificales that are used for energy metabolism to pathways in P. hydrogeniphila. In determining the metabolic pathway of P. hydrogeniphila, we hope to expand our knowledge of how Aquificales have evolved.