With $10.65 million in support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a new Energy Frontier Research Center based at Michigan State University (MSU) has been established. Led by Cheryl Kerfeld, a professor in the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, the Center for Catalysis in Biomimetic Confinement (CCBC) will explore how nature compartmentalizes some of its most important biochemical reactions.
Advances in cryogenic electron microscopy have enabled an international team of experts to visualize the structure of a cyanobacterial phycobilisome with nearly atomic resolution. The work, a collaboration among researchers at Michigan State University, UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab, and the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, was published in Nature. Knowing the position of different proteins and pigments helps scientist better understand this natural process and can inspire future applications in areas such as renewable energy and environmental remediation.
Microorganisms play key roles in regulating global nutrient cycles but only a small fraction has been identified and an even smaller number has been successfully cultured in a lab for study. In Nature Biotechnology, the known diversity of bacteria and archaea has now expanded by 44% through a publicly available collection of more than 52,000 microbial genomes from environmental samples. Of that number, 70% of the novel genome sequences were previously unknown, not yet cultured in the lab. The work results from a JGI-led collaboration involving more than 200 scientists around the world, KBase and NERSC. Read more about the genomic catalog of Earth’s microbiomes on the JGI website.
Two scientists from the Biosciences Area, Cheryl Kerfeld and David Schaffer, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They join fellow Lab scientists Rebecca Abergel in the Chemical Sciences Division, Roland Burgmann and Michael Manga in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area Energy Geosciences Division, and Natalie Roe, Director of the Physics Division, in receiving the distinction of Fellow this year for “their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”
Researchers at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University (MSU), led by Corie Ralston and Cheryl Kerfeld, performed X-ray footprinting mass spectrometry (XFMS) experiments at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) beamline 5.3.1, which revealed new mechanistic details of the key events in orange carotenoid protein (OCP) photoprotection. XFMS is ideally suited to probing conformational dynamics at the single residue level, providing both a spatial and temporal view of site-specific changes in the OCP and its interaction with the fluorescence recovery protein (FRP). The experiments showed that FRP provides an extended binding region that holds the OCP together and forces proximity of the two domains that accelerate relaxation of OCP to its native state.